Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Good Morning Vietnam!

It actually wasn't such a good morning in Hanoi when we woke up!  Our first rain for 6 weeks! And it didn't stop while we were there!

No traffic in the early morning!

On our flight from Siem Reap we had seen some wonderful cloud formations and presumably they followed us!

We were very pleased with our choice of hotel… the Elegance Diamond… they were very efficient! They arranged our Visa and our trip to HaLong bay.

They also have a great restaurant on their top floor  the Gourmet Corner…… where we tried their Rice Pancake and Nems….

We had chosen our hotel because it is close to Hoan Kiem Lake

and also is on the edge of the Old Quarter so that we could easily explore it……..we hadn't read at that point about the chaotic traffic…….

It was very difficult to cross a street, almost impossible as there were motorbikes coming from all directions…….. and it was extremely difficult for this car to turn around, having made a wrong turn!

It was interesting to see the different streets which were initially named after the products they sold.

We had dinner in another restaurant in Hanoi, the Porte d'Annam…….
this is located in an old home….the stairs up to the second floor are rather precipitous!

The Spices road  menu looked very interesting and indeed the starters were great…...
 However the Muscovy duck, apart from presentation was just OK…….

It was a very charming place and the menu was interesting.  However we did feel that there was a little confusion in the tastes!

We went early morning to see the Temple of Literature.….we actually got there before it opened…a first for us!
This allowed us to watch some Tai Chi in the adjacent park while waiting…….

It was built in 1070 and is the home of Hanoi's first university, opened in 1076……

The names of successful students are recorded on the turtle steles……and removed if they were deemed to have become corrupt!

It was very beautiful and peaceful within the walls…..amazing in such a busy city…….

It seemed as though every child in Hanoi was visiting that day…..…….

They were also lined up to go to Ho Chi Min Mausoleum…….thankfully!  This was suggested as an alternative to my request to go to the Citadel…which seemed interesting as it wasn't as yet on the tourist route. However apparently there is nothing of note to see.  I didn't like to tell our guide that I could think of nothing worse than to see an embalmed body, having seen Lenin's in Moscow once……no need to go!
The line of  school children to get in meant it would have taken 2 hours to reach the entrance!

However there is a back entry for VIPs and our guide was able to persuade the guard at the entrance to let us in, as long as we didn't try to skip to the head of the queue!  No problem!

It was very interesting to see the humble home Ho Chi Min  lived in……….

...quite a contrast to the  Presidential Palace, the old French Governor's house, on whose grounds it was built….. and where he had a right to live!

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