Exploring Hanoi

I woke up in time to miss the hostel breakfast, that one beer plus the traveling had its wicked way with my sleep pattern! 
When I did finally emerge the staff of the hostel were very helpful in suggesting places to visit and how best to get there.
I’d already decided on visiting the temple of literature and potentially the Hanoi Zoological Garden.

So, armed with a good old fashioned paper map and my apple maps I set out. 

Walking isn’t the easiest here as the locals park their scooters and motorbikes on the pavement.

When crossing roads you take your life in your hands, there may be red and green traffic lights but they seem to be for decorative purposes only.

Twenty minute walk from the hostel found me at the Temple of literature.

Thought I’d have a quiet sit down and read the book I found in the hostel on Northern Vietnam just to get a bit of history of the place before going in. So I parked myself near a pagoda in the gardens just outside, didn’t take long for some Vietnamese boys to come and play their version of hacky sack right next to me. It’s not like they had the whole park or anything! 

I took my leave and entered the temple. 30,000 dong which translates to about £1! 

The things that look like gravestones on the back of tortoises are stelae. Surrounding the Well of Clarity.

The stelae contain names of examination scholars, the tortoise represents strength and longevity. 

Not sure what the stork on top of the tortoise represents, I did try and eavesdrop on some tour guides. People kept rubbing them, hence the shiny bit on the stork’s breast.

These temples do leave me feeling peaceful. Everyone is quiet and the wafting of incense seems to have a calming effect.
From here I walked to Hoan Kiem Lake. 

There is Tortoise Tower in the center, meant to represent divine intervention. 

By now my little legs were starting to ache so I attempted to find somewhere I could sit and chill out for a bit, came across a really busy touristy area, therefore touristy bars and touristy prices. Not the end of the world seeing as everything is so cheap here and I can sit here and watch the world go by.

The Canadian I met on the flight over knew some people here in Hanoi and invited me out for dinner with them.

We went traditional Vietnamese, Chicken Pho.

Went for a wander to try and find the river. Found St Joseph’s Cathedral instead.

Failed to find the river and sat in a bar for a drink instead. Non alcoholic for me, frozen coconut milk with chocolate.


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