By the time we reached Dong Hoi I was feeling a bit drained. I thought it was probably that on top of the long drive (which is anything but relaxing when you still can't help thinking everything and everyone on the road will eventually run into you), I would really have liked to have stayed in Hue.
Actually, all of the above, plus I was coming down with a cold.
Dong Hoi is another city where the river(s) open and empty into the sea. The whole extended coast of Vietnam is shaping up in my mind like this, with these massive rivers flowing out of Cambodia and Laos. The area reminded me if anything of the central coast of New South Wales - emerging out of slow development because of isolation and a lower capital base, but blessed with wonderful natural resources like lakes, inlets and outlets, and stunning beaches. There's a brightly painted fleet of squid trawler boats which putter out at night and whose bright spot lights dance about in the black sea.
We were meant to be doing the going-up-the-river-thing and into some caves - UNESCO ones I think. But I couldn't muster up the energy.
Some rest and sleep was on the agenda, Hanoi was on the horizon, and this did just fine: