Monday, 21 March 2016

day in hanoi

Due to the lack of curtain on the window by our beds we all wake up pretty early, and so after eating approximately a week's worth of calories at the buffet breakfast we decided to venture to the mausoleum. It was a half hour walk across the city and you had to get there by 10.15am. We set off around 9.30, but evidently the maker of Google maps hadn't taken into consideration the additional 30 seconds or so required to try and avoid your own death every time you want to cross the road. By 10
13 we were very, very lost, and stopped at a frozen yoghurt shop where the others had ice cream so we could plan a route to another attraction. 

We decided to go to the Temple of Literature which was near the Mausoleum and walked there. We paid our 30,000 dong entrance fee and went in. There are far fewer temples in Vietnam than have been in Thailand and Laos, but this was very beautiful. There were several gardens and information about how it was the first university in Vietnam, as well as graves for the scholars, some of which were from the 1400s.

After a wander round we left and began the journey back. I had a feeling we had gone the wrong way but after 18 years being told I have a terrible sense of direction (thanks mum!!) I assumed it was my mistake. After about 20 minutes of walking we realised we'd walked in completely the wrong direction and had to begin the journey back. Fortunately it wasn't an unpleasant view as we got to see Vietnamese people going about their days.

Eventually we made it back to what we've kind of decided is the centre, primarily because it's the site of burger king, dominos and dunking donuts- 3 crucial cultural sights obviously. We went to burger king for lunch (immersing ourselves in the local cuisine yet again). It's weird that an international brand can be so much cheaper over here but I'm definitely not complaining!

Then we walked back to our hostel and sorted out our laundry. Prior to today we have been doing our laundry in the hotel rooms, and while the combination of soap, shower gel and even a little shampoo have made our clothes clean (and even smell really good!!) Hanoi is too cold for us to try our clothes here, so we took them all to the dry cleaner. For 20,000 dong per kilo (less than £1) we can't complain.

After that we went to a nail salon so that the others could get acrylics. I'm not really a nail person; I'm fulfilling the role of slightly homeless looking traveller, but they now have full sets of fake gel nails for just over £10- you'd pay around £30 in England.

After that we spent an hour or so at the communal area in our hostel and lauren skyped her parents (and dogs). I looked up places to eat (lauren and i had a massive jacket potato craving but couldn't find a solution) and i found a place called Lantern Bar on a list of Best Cheap Eats in Vietnam. It was only a 3 minute walk from our hostel and we set off. It did not disappoint; as well as being beautifully decorated the staff were really nice and the good was delicious. Molly and i both had soup and it was maybe the best I've ever had. I want to eat it again!!

We stayed there for a while and then headed back at the hostel, stopping at a mini mart where i got an ice cream (haven't kept up the dairy free thing well over here.. oops). After an hour or so at the communal area we went up to bed. Fortunately after a rather smelly guy the first night we've been sharing with nice people, though I also like the fact that they're rarely in the room. Sociable?

Laura x

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