Welcome to Hanoi

20/9 and 21/9

This morning we got up early, grabbed a coffee and took the local bus to the airport. Hong Kong is a massive airport and I could believe how many different shuttles we had to take to get to the right place, and then take again once we had got through security!

The plane to Hanoi was really cramped but it was only for a couple of hours so I just got stuck into blog writing whilst Matthew read. 
We were struck as soon as we arrived by the utterly chaotic traffic in Hanoi- there were motorbikes and mopeds weaving in and out, up and down roads (on the same side) and horns being tooted everywhere. It was unbelievable! 

We went for an acclimatisation walk to get used to the area and it first it was a little overwhelming. Pavements run out regularly so you have to manoeuvre around moving mopeds and taxis and over stools with people eating on them. However, we shortly got used to it and found the city to be really charming and the roads surprisingly safe. People are used to having foot traffic on the roads so you just have to time your speed well and the cars and mopeds just glide around you without a concern in the world! 

The next day we sampled some world famous Vietnamese coffee which involves coffee with condensed milk- it’s deliciously sweet and refreshing and a massive throw back to the French colonial days. 

 We went to the Hoan Kiem lake area which is smack bang in the centre of the city and admired the winding trees and gardens.

 We decided we needed to try to build our strength back up in preparation for our next tour so we walked all the way to the Hi chi Minh mausoleum, the place where Ho Chi Minh’s preserved body is kept, and the botanic gardens. 

The scenery was lovely and we enjoyed watching the old people doing exercises in the park, much like what we saw in China. Old people are so much fitter and more active here, running around playing Badminton and stretching their bodies in various amazing ways- I must remember to take a leaf out of their book as I grow older