After we came back from the cruise, we had two days in Hanoi. The first day we spent doing a giant tour of the big attractions in Hanoi. This included some temples, a big old lake, and Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum.
First up was the Temple of Literature. This is the site of Vietnam’s oldest university, some 1000 years old.
Next up, we walked to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, which was closed of course. We heard a few different reasons for why, but ultimately it seems that it is just closed for two hours everyday. Nothing in the guide book about this, nothing posted either. It is just closed.
We also stumbled upon the national palace while we were talking. Ho refused to live in it during his reign as president, preferring to live in a simple shack on the grounds.
Next stop was West Lake, which we seemed to walk way too long to get to, to visit a cool temple there….which was also closed. I was not having much luck as a tour guide on this day.
But this did allow us to discover, kind of by accident, the John McCain monument in Hanoi. You might remember him as the prisoner of war who could have gotten out because of who his father is but refused to leave, the guy our soon to be president believes in not a hero.
After this we stopped for a bit of a break, because we had walked a whole lot at this point. Then we visited a temple I have not idea the name of. But it was old and really cool.
Next up was the old city gate. This was part of the Citadel complex, or so we thought. It was on the same general block as the UNESCO World Heritage site and apparently is part of it, but it is not the same when it comes to admission price. The guy at the gate kind of told us this in Vietnamese but one thing Sandy Heise is good at is negotiation and pretending to be a stupid American. When we went to the main entrance of the Citidel and they tried to get us to pay another admission few, my mother told them that we already paid that exact amount (we didn’t) at the Gate and that the gentleman there told us this was the one price for all the attractions. (He may have, he was speaking Vietnamese, but judging by context and hand gestures I feel certain that he was clear that it was two different admission tickets.)
After that we found the main part of the old Citadel, originally built about 1000 years ago. Hanoi is an old city, having recently celebrated it 1000 year anniversary.
This was our final stop for big attractions. We took a long walk back. Iris decided we were crazy (she was not really wrong) and did not want to just wander around anymore. So my mom and I pushed in our walking adventure!
Our last day in Hanoi was spent doing more exploring of the Old Quarter. This started with buying jackets and pants because it was so freaking cold…at least for the new me, the changed blood chemistry me that does not enjoy 100 degree weather everyday here in KL but is at least used to it.
After that we picked up John Heise and took a little golf cart tour of the Old Quarter.
That’s all for now! More to come from my parent’s visit in the next blog!