Enjoyed flying into Hanoi and getting an aerial overview as when driving from one place to another you don’t realise how much farming land there is, all you see is the heavily built up areas hugging the roadsides, and you have no idea at all how towns are dotted amongst hectare after hectare of paddy fields. Also immediately noticed a difference from Saigon, not as busy, my way to describe it at the time was it seemed less frenetic. So much so that our driver from the airport into town was talking on 2 mobile phones, and at one stage even stopped in the middle of the road whilst he chatted away!!! couldn’t help but laugh. The more relaxed feel continued throughout our discovery of Hanoi.
Have already documented the saga of arriving in Hanoi to no room at the inn, courtesy of Morning Star Hotel. However, a bonus whilst they were mucking us around with their constantly changing story, was we were able to leave our baggage there whilst following Reid on Travel’s walking tour of the Old Quarter.
What a wonderful way to spend a few hours!! Such a charming area with it’s old buildings and streets specialising in selling their wares. Streets with every cake tin or kitchen implement you could imagine, musical instruments, embroidery and sewing threads, bamboo, medicinal and herbs, imitation flowers, real flowers, Buddhist accessories, paper lanterns, tools, mirrors, kites, and all the time squillions of motorbikes zooming past or parked on the footpath so that your journey was slow, as it needed to be anyway as you tried to absorb all that surrounded you.
Enjoyed wonderful coffee as we paused enroute, at a Trung Nguyen café, our first experience of having it served from your own individual battered metal coffee filters atop a glass. Yummmm!! Energy to explore some more!!!
Softening effects of late afternoon light, a golden glow, shadows . . . so picturesque . . . . . steam emerging from huge pots bubbling away, markets busy as ingredients are sought out for an evening meal. Live fish, snails, ducks, chickens, pork, herbs and vegetables, all fresh and colourful . . . delicious smells!!!