Even though January seems a bit of an odd time for me to flee my country (I love winter!) to go to sunnier places, I am very glad I went on a holiday to Vietnam. Not just because timing wise I could really do with some days of not being in my normal 9 to 5 treadmill, but also because Vietnam is already rocking my socks off after just one day! My journey starts in Hanoi, which is on the one hand in the ‘poor’ north of Vietnam, but on the other hand it is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy houses (my tour guide said).
I hope you don’t feel I am oversharing pictures, but there is so much to see here and everything is beautiful, colorful and amazing, so I want you to share the experience a bit. And I am lazy so pics will make the words come to life a bit easier, hehe. 😉 Especially the flowers that are with the Buddhist altars are very nice, I am not sure where they come from as it is considered to be ‘winter’ in the north right now so there are not a lot of flowers blossoming right now.
Anyway, so I flew to Hanoi via Hong Kong, which was a good way of flying. We had a nice 2 hours to change flights and as the first (and longest) leg was with Cathay Pacific, it was a very relaxing trip. I got to watch five movies, so that was a nice score (and frankly, my personal record when it comes to watching films during flights). When we arrived the tour guide picked us up (it is a group trip) and we went to the hotel for some needed sleep.
The roosters outside my hotel were a little bit annoying, but thankfully I was tired enough (and I usually sleep as if I am in a coma anyway) to sleep through it, even though it was during the day. After that, the guide took us on a walking trip through the city, where we visited an inside market with a lot of fake bags and creepy foods. Not to be disrespectful of course, but to me it is just creepy to chop off a chickenhead and place it somewhere on the body and stack them up like some kind of tower. It is impressive though, I just would not fancy doing that myself.
Vietnam is interesting foodwise anyway. We went out to dinner to a very nice restaurant called Khai’s Brothers, which had the most delicious things like pumpkin soup, pineapple from the BBQ, sauteed vegetables and chicken (I don’t eat fish, sadly, so I can’t say much about that other than: there is lots of that here!). This restaurant is pretty Western, so there were not a lot of ‘strange’ Vietnamese dishes. They just had very good noodles and other nice things. I also had a vegetable called Lady Fingers from the BBQ, but that was a bit bitter (the inside was very nice and apparently very healthy). I would recommend going to Khai’s Brothers, especially when it is your first day in the city, it is nice to have food that is pretty safe, street food can be eaten later right? 😉
Plus, the restaurant looks really lovely. It is situated in an old temple and even though the dessert (chocolate fountain omg!) was inside, the rest is all outside in a little inside garden or whatever you may call it. It is really great! It is a bit more expensive than your average Vietnamese food, but everything is more expensive in Hanoi, as my guide tells me because I have not travelled elsewhere in Vietnam yet 0:)
After the dinner yesterday we went to the hotel (the Green Park Hotel, pretty decent!) and I simply crashed. I did not hear any ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’, I just slept and had to wake up at 7 o clock in the morning (ouch!) to have breakfast and start the second day in Hanoi. It was a really good first day. I totally forgot to mention that my boyfriend and I went on a lovely stroll in the afternoon too, just the two of us, around a small lake. Traffic here is crazy, but you will get used to pretty quickly (lots of motor scooters, honking and crossing the road by just walking and no stopping!).
So day 2 was the after-the-shock-of-really-being-on-holiday-day a lovely day to experience some authentic Vietnamese culture, but I will tell more about this tomorrow!