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Martin's Travel Journal Just a few photos and ramblings from my trips.


VIETNAM | Monday, 25 April 2011 | Views [582]

The train rolled into Hanoi Station at the unearthly hour of 5am. Sluggishly I dragged myself out of bed, off the carriage and made my way towards the Backpackers Hostel with the intention of leaving my rucksack and going in search of breakfast.

Even in the far east, the land of the early risers, hardly anywhere is open at 6 in the morning so I strolled the streets to further build up my appetite. I eventually ended up at the lake and watched the locals all exercise - some of which is questionable as to whether it classes as exercise or not.

Further wandering led me to the closed Ba Dong and Ly Quoc Su Pagodas but St. Joseph's Cathedral was open with a service about to begin. I then remembered it was Easter Sunday. I sat for a while (but had no idea what was being said) before heading out for breakfast.

I had breakfast at the Thuy Ta cafe overlooking the lake (an interesting breakfast for sticky rice, Vietnamese sausage and tea - not my usual Sunday fare) before walking to the otherside of the lake to Den Ngoc Son Temple.

I then walked north, visiting a refurbished house on Ma May before strolling through the maze of streets in the old quarter. I then made my way to meet John and Hannah.

It felt like it should be lunchtime but it was only 9am when we set off to the Ho Chi Minh Mauseleum. The madness that surrounds this attraction is ridiculous. People are literally dragged around by the guards and it annoyed me - especially after litle sleep. The queue was enormous but fast moving as you are rushed past the embalmed body of Ho Chi Minh. I gave it a review of 'meh'.

We walked back round to the old quarter, again sent every which way by paranoid guards on our way out. We stopped for lunch before slowly making away back towards the hostel - with the odd run in with the ever annoying hawkers.

Later we took in a show at the Water Puppet Theatre which, despite being mostly in Vietnamese (which I don't speak), was high enjoyable.

Again we headed back to the Backpackers Hostel and enjoyed a few glasses of free beer in the bar and dinner across the road before I left John and Hannah (an Ariane who we had met up with) and headed across town to the Opera House. I had a ticket to the see the Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi that evening.

As a backpacker I was unsurprisingly not the best dressed member of the audience but that didn't matter. Einaudi was magnificent. His musical is wonderful and the beautiful surroundings of the Opera House made this a night to remember.

Following the concert I jumped in a taxi and headed north to catch  up with the others and enjoy a couple of drinks in the Backpackers newer sister hotel in the old quarter, but it wasn't a late one as the three of us had to be up early as the next morning we were heading to Halong Bay.


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