Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson and his wife chose to explore the historic Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday as part of their four-day official visit to Vietnam.
President Grímsson and Iceland’s First Lady, Dorrit Moussaieff, were gifted with the non tai beo (broad-brimmed cap) and khan ran (striped scarf), the typical accessories of Vietnamese guerrillas in wartime, before starting their exploration at the relic.
Located in Cu Chi District, only 60km from the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, the Cu Chi Tunnels are one of its most important historic tourist attractions.
Built by Vietnamese soldiers as shelter from U.S. troops during the war in Vietnam, the tunnels were used by local independence fighters as hiding spots during combat.
The Icelandic President and his wife were impressed by the tunnel complex, which also served as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches, and living quarters system, and expressed their admiration to those who built them.
The First Lady also insisted that she go down one of the tunnels to have first-hand experience as to how Vietnamese guerrillas lived there during wartime.
The relic employees at first suggested that Moussaieff try the tunnel re-designed to particularly serve tourists, but the Icelandic First Lady said she also wanted to do so with the original tunnel.
Moussaieff said after going down both tunnels that it was such a memorable experience, adding the Vietnamese guerrillas have had an incredible life in the tunnels.
The visiting president and other members of his delegation also went down the tunnel and all acknowledged that it is not an easy task for the Europeans.
President Grímsson began his four-day official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang on Tuesday, with the trip meant to foster Vietnam and Iceland’s economic partnership.
President Grímsson reacts when he was told of the number of bombs dropped into the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Iceland’s First Lady Morrit Moussaieff prepares to go down a tunnel.
President Grímsson keeps the bag of his wife while she goes down a tunnel.
Iceland’s First Lady Morrit Moussaieff poses as she stands inside a tunnel.
President Grímsson and his wife Moussaieff are pictured inside a tunnel.
President Grímsson and his wife Moussaieff walk through a forest at the Cu Chi Tunnels relic.
President Grímsson and his wife Moussaieff try cassava and tea, two specialties at the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Iceland’s First Lady Morrit Moussaieff drinks the specialty tea at the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Employees at the Cu Chi Tunnels introduce the way to make rubber sandals to Iceland’s First Lady Morrit Moussaieff.
The notes left by President Grímsson in the guestbook of the Cu Chi Tunnels.