Dalat Palace, then circled all the way around majestic Xuan Huong Lake.
At one stage, the old golf course — its lush fairways slightly obscured by a fence line draped in vibrant bougainvillea — was directly to my right.
At another point, I passed through the shadow of the post office’s Eiffel Tower-style transmitter and looked across the boulevard at another grand landmark — the towering Cathedral.
The stroll probably took a couple of hours. But I was in no hurry. The sun was out, the sky was blue, the air was crisp and clean, and the staff at Cafe de la Poste was still setting up for breakfast by the time I finished.
I've probably walked that particular route a dozen times. I never tire of it. Each time, I'm struck by the architecture. The ample sidewalk space. The hilly and romantic nature of the town and its surroundings. And I’m reminded of why the French were drawn to this piece of Vietnam real estate as well.
The funny thing is it took them some time to figure that out. At least according to Barbara Crossette, whose research on the origins of Dalat is documented in her book, The Great Hill Stations of Asia.