Sunday, September 9, 2012
After breakfast, and given that it is Sunday, we do what the locals do before we need to go to the airport.
We take a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake while doing exercises. You know, clapping your hands at the front, and then at the back etc. Nice, but a little sad to leave this place. It sort of grows on you. Not even crossing a busy street seems to be such a hassle anymore.
Back at the hotel, we pack up, check out and by 10.30am, we are in the car heading towards the airport.
All worked fine. Bag drop off is quick and we are inside the terminal in no time (A terminal that is very, very empty and sparse, makes Adelaide airport to look really busy).
By 8.20am Monday morning we are back in Sydney... And planning the next trip... Or at least Hans is.... Until next time...
Saturday, September 8, 2012
We had our breakfast and then asked in reception for what bus to take and from where (Local bus 47, from Hanoi central bus station).
One of those street barbers had set up shop just outside the Temple of Literature, so Hans decided to give it a shot. After all, the hair was getting a bit fluffy.
The Temple of Literature was very interesting, with stelae of doctors who graduated nearly 500 years ago and Confusius. Wise friendly face, wouldn't you say?
Opposite the Temple of Literature, there was a little dam, around which people were doing exercises, but also with the mandatory fishing. If there is water, there always seems to be somebody there to try to catch something...
Friday, September 7, 2012
If anybody is interested in the details of the place, here is the Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfume_Pagoda
It's raining on and off but we had our ponchos and are not concerned.
Boat ride on the river is magical and very quiet (it's low season). Only a couple of other boats with tourists and fishermen catching shrimps can be seen.
Gourmet Indian dinner at Namaste. Really really good. So good that Di gave it 5 dots in Tripadvisor with the following comments:
"We almost missed Namaste as it does not look particularly interesting from the street. Glad we persisted. While their decor is plain the food is definitely not, it's delicious. We had sizzling prawns, chicken tikka masala, naan and Dahl. All were great and better than we have in northern beaches in Sydney. The ultimate test ... Gulab jamun for dessert. Best ever!
Total cost about $27 which is not cheap for Hanoi but worth every cent.
The Service was also excellent and we enjoyed chatting to Gopi and his wife about their chefs and their passion for the food."
A great day. All went well including Di being informed of her bonus, which exceeded her expectations... Slightly.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
After checking out the grounds, we wander north up to West Lake and the pagoda and then wander around the little nearby lake to the east called Truc Bach Lake.
On the southern side of the lake, we have a coffee break at the Black and White Cafe and feel very local for a while. Coffee in Vietnam is pretty good as long as you take it black with no sugar.
After the cuppa, we wandered slowly back towards Hotel Meracus when we encountered a very interesting temple, which we just had to visit.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
The cycling is firstly along the water's edge and then inland to a very green valley with rice paddies. It is all very beautiful.
The hiking is a real scramble on razor sharp limestone up to a hill with nice views and then back down again. Unfortunately no photos as I couldn't bother bringing the camera to this one. Regret that as it was quite an outing.
Then, a bit more cruising...
Monday, September 3, 2012
Group seems ok. Mostly 30ish and look like regular travelers. Mix of countries. Quick break at a tourist trap. This one was selling statues of all sorts and could ship anywhere. The pees varied...
Cave is interesting but our guide Hoa sounds like he has taken too many drugs because he keeps trying to point out stallectites that are shaped like animals or people etc. we are promised kayaking which Hans and I are keen to do and as soon as the kayaks arrive we leap into the first one and take off. Nice to be on our own to explore. We are told to meet up at Titop island and we have no problems getting there and settling in for a beer at the bar.
Dinner is sort of a repeat of lunch with addition of steamed prawns which are really good.
Some pictures taken from our boat during the blue hour that evening...