Limestone Lovers: The Kissing Rocks of Ha Long Bay

Kiss of Death - The Godfather II | ©Paramount PicturesSara Rosso of HQ WordPress wants us to go in search of the “Big Pucker Up” — the KISS — for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge.

I immediately thought of the scene from Godfather II where Michael lays the “Kiss of Death” on his older brother Alfredo at that New Year’s Eve party down in Old Havana just before Fidel Castro, in his camouflaged ’56 Chevy, arrived. But, I dashed that image immediately.

Then I remembered a view I had seen almost ten years ago, when digital cameras weren’t what they are today. I took a flashlight and stepped down into The Palladian Traveler’s dusty archives, looked in a file labeled “V” and found what I was looking for.

The "Kissing Rocks" -- Ha Long Bay, Vietnam | ©Tom Palladio ImagesA pair of “limestone lovers,” standing side-by-side, all alone out in the water — The Kissing Rocks of Ha Long Bay.

The Kissing Rocks are just a sampling of the natural beauty that exists around Ha Long Bay (Descending Dragon Bay), located in northeastern Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, and, since 1994, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Ha Long Bay consists of a dense archipelago of 1,969 limestone monolithic islands formed some 500-million years ago.

Each island — some are just oversized rocks, like Burt and Deborah over there (Lancaster and Kerr in From Here to Eternity) — each topped with thick jungle vegetation, which rise spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves.

Ha Long Bay scenic - Vietnam | ©Tom Palladio ImagesLocal legend has it that long ago, when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent a family of dragons to help defend the land.

This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. These jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay, linking together to form a great wall against the invaders.

I apologize in advance for the photos you are about to see, but, in order to make them presentable I had to give them all sepia tones to hide the marginal quality.

Enjoy the pair of “limestone lovers” and the short cruise around their wet and wide “love nest.”

©The Palladian Traveler | ©Tom Palladio Images



Written by

Tom swapped his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "cappello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along the travertine and cobblestone that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches via and Anthology Magazine Ireland.


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