Europe on an Asian Budget

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Imagine a city with quaint French architecture, brightly colored homes and fresh, cool temps. There is lush greenery, colorful flowers on every corner and rolling mountains.

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Would you ever imagine that city to be in… Vietnam?

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We spent several days in Dalat, a city in Vietnam’s central highlands. Although it’s a popular tourist destination for locals, I didn’t see any foreigners while I was there, though I saw plenty in Ho Chi Minh City.

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After arriving at the airport, we wound our way up a twisting road through beautiful country side to reach the city.

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Dalat is called the city of flowers, and indeed, there are flowers everywhere.

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Some of the medians are planted with literally thousands of roses.

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While we didn’t find a ton to do there, we had fun exploring.

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The cooler temperatures were a welcome relief from the heat and humidity in Ho Chi Minh, and I finally felt alive again after sweating my way through Laos and south Vietnam.

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We explored the old train station, and I knew my little guy would have been going nuts over the trains.

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These guys were trading soccer cards like American kids with baseball cards and couldn’t be bothered to let us take a picture of them.

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I was supposed to take a photo of “motion” for my then in-progress photography class, and this main avenue along one of Dalat’s many lakes provided an opportunity.

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The dinner right on the water was excellent, too.

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And though at times it felt like we might be somewhere in Europe, there were reminders everywhere that we were still in Asia.

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Next time you have a craving for European architecture with an Asian twist, try Dalat for an unexpected respite.

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