Rosie & Jim's Travel Blog

A blog of all our travels

Ha Long Bay A Right Royal Affair

Back to Hanoi

  |     |   Vietnam 2011   |   Vietnam, Hanoi

We started early again today with a long walk to breakfast, well 5 steps anyway. Oddly, we then had to check out of our rooms even though we weren’t due back at shore for another 2 hours. The views this morning were better than yesterday with only a thin morning mist obscuring things. We got back to the boat station at 9am for the journey back to Hanoi.

The first stop was at a local pineapple stall where we were shown how they cut pineapple in the north. It certainly looked simple when done by the experts, but when one of our group had a go, I think the stall owner was a little concerned about him losing a finger. Once we had all sampled the small, sweet pineapple and the excessively sweet, over sugared, passion fruit, we were back on the bus heading for lunch at a handycraft place.

Once we arrived back in Hanoi, we began our city tour (or at least very brief highlights tour). We started off by visiting the Temple of Literature and the University of Hanoi, which are both, located at the same place. It was quite a beautiful and peaceful place with all sorts of statues and more bonsai, but not a huge amount of classrooms/places to study that I could see.

The next part of our tour took us to Hỏa Lò Prison, a place built by the French back in the day. The whole place reminded me of the concentration camp in Niš, Serbia. We were given a load of information by our guide, Hai, about how terrible the French were to the prisoners when they ran the place, and how brilliant the Vietnamese were to the prisoners once it was under their control. It seemed to be a very pro-Vietnam demonstration, although some of the photos of the American prisoners held by the Vietnamese looked almost staged.

The evening was taken up by a strange but interesting local art form, the Water Puppet Show. It wasn’t really to my taste, or many of the others in our group, but we still thought it was quite good, and very cleverly done. We finished the evening with another stroll through the town, back along the street where the night market had been held a few nights before. It looked completely different! We then had dinner at the hotel restaurant, a Mandarin Hot Pot restaurant of all things, although it was a little different to the hotpot we had in Beijing.

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