Hello readers and friends !
Why did we want to go to Vietnam ? One day, we saw a presentation about a bike trip in that country. Doing an active trip was a good idea for us. We registered with Great Explorations (a company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada) for this adventure. We started to do more training ( going to spin classes) until it was time to travel to Asia. On that long trip, we spent time in Northern Thailand ( see the 6 posts before this one). We arrived in Hanoi after one sunny week in Thailand. What a shock! Hanoi was cold and humid . Somehow we did not expect that although it was February.
Between the airport and the city, we got our first glimpse of the country. We saw people working in rice paddy with a tractor that looked quite different to what we have here in North America. Most of the work is done by hand. Amazing, isn’t ? Think about that next time you have a bowl of rice.
On the road, there were lots of people on their scooters as they were coming back in town from a major holiday after visiting family. Tết , or Vietnamese New Year, is the most important celebration in Vietnamese culture. Tết celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese calendar , which usually has the date falling in January or February.
This photo would be a typical family on their scooter. Most people were wearing the face mask as there is a lot of air pollution. I am sure they were also cold . You can see the man putting his left hand in his pocket. He forgot his gloves ? I was thinking about car seat we have for our little precious children. Well, I guess having no car means all the family has to fit on the scooter.
That first night, we walked to a restaurant that GE had recommended. We had a map of the city so it was not too difficult. We would not be able to ask anyone for directions as we don’t speak Vietnamese and I doubt many of them speak English or French. It was a good way to see the city and get a feel of the life in that noisy city. So many scooters!!!
We walked along Hoam Kiem Lake ( meaning Lake of the Returned Sword) , the epicenter of OLD HANOI. We saw Ngoc Son Temple sitting on an island and the Turtle Tower. Being built on the Jade Islet and dedicated to Confucian and Taoist and philosophers and the national hero, Trần Hưng Đạo, the small temple was expanded in 1865.
The Huc Bridge is a graceful link between the sacred Buddhist Ngoc Son Temple and the bank of Hoan Kiem Lake. Huc Bridge is called “The Welcoming Morning Sunlight ” bridge in English. Ngoc Son Temple was built in the 18th century .
This area is very popular with tourists. The next morning , we left Hanoi to go to Halong Bay . I will show you this part of the trip in my next post. We will have more time in Hanoi after this excursion and soon we will be cycling.
Thanks for reading and your comments.