This is one crazy town! The first surprise were the beautiful bridges on the way from the airport. Then we experienced the craziness of Hanoi for the first time, with families of 4 and even 5 riding on one moped!
We arrived late so it was straight to bed in our hotel, The Essence Palace which was extremely welcoming and a little oasis from the chaos outside. We woke early and after a breakfast buffet (which really pleased Jake as he always asks if it's included) we braved the Lonely Planets suggested walking route around the old quarter.
Having read the section on 'crossing the road', our skills were soon put to the test. Hold your hand out 🤚,be brave, show no fear, don't stop and if in doubt grab onto a local. It's worked so far - London streets will be so easy in future! The walk was hectic to say the least and a real sensation overload. Each road has its own theme so we walked down shoe street where the children got new sandals, past the blacksmiths, the toy street through the most amazing smells of street food and stopped at cafes on the way to take a time out.
It's really like stepping back in time and I loved the simplicity of life. Families in shops, cooking food on the street outside that they bought from fellow shop owners and street vendors.
That evening we went to a water puppet show, something Hanoi is famous for and very proud of. In fact making the puppets keeps a whole village employed year round and the puppeteers train for 3 years. The children loved it but none of us had any idea of the story as it was all in Vietnamese!
Today we visited Hi Chi Minhs museum and learnt a bit more about the history of Vietnam and their much loved leader. He was a real hero for the people and was very much a part of defeating the USA back in the Vietnam war. Many Vietnamese people come to his mausoleum to pay their respects and although it was closed today, we enjoyed looking around the museum.
Heading back to our hotel to cool off, we stopped on the way at The Temple on the lake, where we had a special message drawn in calligraphy as a souvenir by a lovely local man.
Sophia and I did a bit of shopping (we would have done a lot more but don't have space in our bags!) and then felt we deserved a pedicure. She had her first mani-pedi for the grand sum of about £6.50 or 190,000 Vietnamese dongs!