We began the day with a hotel breakfast. As expected there were many offerings of a savoury nature traditional in the Asian diet which we three would not usually eat as breakfast items.
This dish attracted our attention;
What might it look like? Well, take a look for yourself;
It looked, and tasted, like a beef stew. Quite nice really although not what I would usually eat for breakfast.
It was raining quite steadily and we decided to use our free morning to explore the neighbourhood and the nearby lake, one of many in Hanoi. I had brought an umbrella with me from Sydney but the others had not. We were directed to a nearby supermarket where CE and ME purchased umbrellas for a handful of dollars. CE managed to cut himself opening the umbrella for the first time drawing blood so we returned to the hotel briefly for him to be bandaged. Then we set off.
Dodging stalls, people seated on kiddie type stools eating on the footpath, motor bikes parked on the footpath and all manner of other obstacles we eventually reached Thong Nhat Park. Across the road we circled around this serene lake which my iPhone identified as being in Lenin Park.
|Thien Quang Lake|
A nearby school with Ho Chi Minh's image prominent;
A Hanoi street at school pick up time (around 11.30 am) for those students attending morning school. (A different set of children would arrive at 1.00 pm for those attending afternoon school.)
After about three hours of walking we returned to our hotel for the briefest of breaks before the city tour.
The Hanoi skyline viewed from our hotel room;
In the afternoon we embarked on the city tour, which turned out to be two events which the tour program stated were to have occurred the next day; a walk past Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum and a visit to the Temple of Literature. We assumed we would be returned to the hotel to freshen up for the evening's welcome dinner following the tour but as it turned out we were taken directly to the dinner from the tour; CE, ME and myself still in the clothes we had sweated through in our long morning's walk in the rain.
Assembling for the city tour we met our fellow group travellers for the first time. We were a party of eighteen in total, all from Australia and all pretty well proving to be delightful travel companions for the following three weeks.
First stop the Mausoleum which our group could only view from the outside in a slow walk past;
Next stop, which we could and did explore for about an hour was the Temple of Literature, a centuries old complex of courtyards which was Vietnam's first University;
At the end of our visit the sun had set and we were taken across the road to a training restaurant run by disadvantaged teenagers for our first meal as a group. No photos of this but the meal was reasonable enough.