Vietnam – Day 7 – Hanoi

Today I woke up at 5:30am. Notice a trend here; I’m not really able to wake up at a normal time yet, despite being here a week. Breakfast at the O’Galley Majestic Hotel & Spa started at 6:30am, and I was starving, so I waited until it opened and rushed down to the basement. I was not disappointed at all; there was so many different options to choose from at the buffet.

After breakfast I went and visited the famous Hanoi rail track again, as they were on the way to my next stop which was a wall of ceramic murals along the Durong Tran Quang Khai highway, which was a few kilometer walk away. The tracks were less lively during the morning, than last night, but there were still some people doing food prep, and building repairs.

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The ceramic murals were quite intricate, and stretch a total length of 6.5 kilometers (4.0 miles). They were developed between 2007 and 2010 to celebrate the Millennial Anniversary of Hanoi.

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After visiting the ceramic murals I walked to the nearby Dong Xuan Market. One word can describe this place; chaos. This market has everything you could possibly dream of in one place, with some tremendous deals to be had on clothing, electronics, jewelry, etc. It’s absolutely packed and seems like a tremendous fire hazard waiting to happen, but it was still unique to see. I didn’t purchase anything there. The market was originally built by the French in 1889, and has been renovated many times since, with the latest iteration in 1994 after a fire broke out, almost destroying the market entirely… As you can see not much has changed. I noticed a ton of expired fire extinguishers stuffed underneath the escalators and stairs…

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After visiting the Dong Xuan Market I visited Bach Ma Temple. The temple was originally built in 1010, by the Ly Dynasty. It honors a white horse, which was thought to be an incarnation of a local river god. The temple was rebuilt in the 18th century after severe flooding damaged the original building.

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After visiting Bach Ma Temple I strolled over to Hoan Kiem Lake, which means “Lake of the Returned Sword”. An old wives tale suggests that in 1428, Emperor Le Loi was boating on the lake when the Golden Turtle God named Kim Qui surfaced and asked for his magic sword, Heaven’s Will. The Emperor came to the conclusion that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the sword that it’s master, Dragon King Long Vuong had given Loi during the revolt against Ming China. The Emperor gave the sword back to the Golden Turtle after finishing fighting the Chinese. I relaxed for a bit along the lake, taking pictures of the Turtle Tower, The Huc Bridge, and Jade Island.

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After relaxing along Hoan Kiem Lake it was time to find some lunch. I settled on a Japanese restaurant called Moto-San. I decided to have some ramen noodle bowl and some sushi while enjoying all the racy propaganda art strewn around the interior of the building.

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After lunch I walked back to the hotel, as I was feeling pretty exhausted and just wanted to relax at the pool. I got back to the hotel at around 2:30pm and relaxed by the pool with some beers until around 5:00pm.

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At 5:00pm I walked around the government area near my hotel and took some pictures of the buildings before walking to the very famous Bun Cha Huong Lien Obama, where former US President Obama and Anthony Bourdain ate on May 23rd 2016.

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After dinner I took a GRAB back to the hotel for 32000 Dong ($2 CDN). I had to pack my bags as I was off to Ninh Binh early. tomorrow morning.

Check back tomorrow when I travel to the countryside and visit Ninh Binh, also known as the Inland Ha Long Bay.

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2018-03-12 – Mont Saint-Michel

Today I went to see Mont Saint-Michel. I woke up at 6:00am. I took the Metro to Montparnasse Station to catch the 7:40am TGV to Rennes. Upon arriving in Rennes I transferred to a coach which took me to Mont Saint-Michele. I explored around the complex, including the Abbey, which was absolutely incredible. When I arrived it was raining fairly heavily and was very windy, but by the time I left the skies were blue and the sun was shining. It was great being able to see the contrast between the morning and afternoon!
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I had a baguette with egg, chicken and cheese, as well as a beer for lunch at a small café at the base of the abbey. I took the 2:05pm bus back to the train station where I purchased a train ticket back to Paris in the 3:45pm train. I had some difficulty with my TD Aeroplan credit card yet again, so I’ll have to look into getting a different card when I return. It rarely works when I travel even though I’ve told TD I travel a lot and they should know that. It worked this morning for a coffee on the train, but apparently a train ticket is a fraudulent purchase…
When I arrived back in Paris I picked up some took the Metro back to my hotel. I had to pickup some Band-Aids on the way because I noticed my toes were rubbing together quite badly due to the fact I’ve been walking so much the past few days. When I got back I showered and tapped up my toes with Band-Aids.
I went out for dinner to Las du’ Falafel and had a lamb Shawarma, which was delicious! I head back to my hotel again and fell asleep around 9:00pm because I was so tired.
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