Sunday, 6 January 2013

Vietnam Day 1 - Hanoi

After a lovely christmas day in Tokyo, we headed off the next morning to Vietnam for a week long trip. 

We had a long flight and a very late arrival in Hanoi, and when we woke up in our hotel room the next morning, we wondered why it was still dark at 8am. We soon realised that the window behind the closed curtains was actually blocked up! Anyway, the hotel room was v nice and we had a hearty breakfast that morning before heading out into the mad steets of Hanoi. It was surprisingly cool there, and quite atmospherically misty too. The morning was spent walking round the lake and taking in the sights and sounds of the Old Quarter, an amazing mix of crumbling buildings, shops selling everything you can think of, and endless motorbikes and noise. There is so much to take in, but you have to constantly have your wits about you. Even crossing the road takes concentration.

The afternoon was spent in the calm haven of the Temple of  Literature which contains a series of courtyards and temples that were once used for a university. We then had dinner at a lovely restaurant called 69 Bar-Restaurant in the Old Quarter. It occupies an old house and has old wooden beams and subtle lighting - the food was delicious!

The red Huc bridge leads over the lake to the Ngoc Son Temple

In the Old Quarter, women carry fresh fruit for sale.

Brightly coloured silk lanterns done in the traditional Vietnamese style

People carry all sorts on the back of their bikes. This man had a fully grown garden!

Fresh meat for sale on the street....

The items tot he right look like straw but are actually dried noodles.

There are hundreds of stalls selling street food. Everyone sits on tiny plastic stools to eat.

 The temple of literature was a calm haven in the middle of the mayhem.

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