Hello Hanoi!

Beautiful photo, eh? Nice and peaceful. Totally not representative of our first day in Hanoi, but it sure was fun!!!

Wikitravel describes Hanoi as the capital of choice of invaders, as the city has been the capital of one or another political regime for a thousand years.

The remains of French colonialism are present everywhere, from the yummy baguettes we had for breakast to the beautiful architecture in the old city. The French were kicked out in 1954, but we’re loving the food they left behind and the opportunity to speak French with tourists and locals alike!

We thought traffic was a challenge in China, but it is much more orderly there than in Hanoi. Good thing we were teenagers in the 80s, because Frogger has given us everything we need to know about crossing the street. We join hands, and slowly creep across the crosswalk while scooters and everything else flow past us on either side.

Our rickshaw has a showdown with scooters as we turn left to follow Al & Sophie

Our rickshaw has a showdown with scooters as we turn left to follow Al & Sophie

I can’t believe people in Asia don’t crash into each other, but I guess when there are so many people you learn to look out for one other, and no one drives quickly.

We wandered through the botanical gardens, and took a rickshaw ride around a rather large lake known as West Lake. While the city is busy and not pedestrian-friendly, there are some very serene parks and open spaces. My cover photo of one of these spots is taken from a roof-top restaurant. You wouldn’t know about all the chaotic traffic passing below!

Our girls love playing with our Vietnamese hosts

Our girls love playing with our Vietnamese hosts

Our Vietnamese hosts have three girls. Their two oldest are the same age as Sophie and Claire, and they were immediately drawn to each other. It’s amazing how children don’t need to share a language to play!

Our first day in Vietnam fell on Al’s birthday, so I arranged with our host to do something special. The Vietnamese don’t celebrate birthdays so I wasn’t expecting much, but she cooked us a traditional dinner and bought Al a cake!


Happy Birthday, Al!!!

Happy Birthday, Al!!!



13 Comments on “Hello Hanoi!

  1. When I was in Hanoi, one of the people I was with described it best as MANIC! What a scary feeling to walk out in to moving traffic and cross the road, not too fast and not too slow and all is good 🙂

  2. So jealous of you all being in Vietnam! Happy belated birthday to Al and I hope you all love Vietnam as much as James and I did. Loving reading your blogs and hoping to see you when you get to the UK- our spare rooms have your names on them if you are coming our way! xx

    • Thanks, Fiona! We are loving Vietnam! We go to Halong Bay on Monday – so pumped for that! We definitely plan to visit, so we’ll work out the details closer to next summer. We plan to be in the UK for about a month.

      – Heather

  3. What a fantastic photo that is! I feel privileged to be able to read about your experiences through your blog Heather. Your posts are so interesting and well written. Thank you so much for sharing with us all!

  4. Hi Al and family….Happy b’day from all your GBS comrades back in cowtown. Great to hear and see you are all doing well. We are all living vicariously through you.

    Your posts are eagerly awaited.

    Happy trails.

    Gord et al

    • Thanks, Gord! Happy to help out. We’re just in Sapa and will continue posts from Hanoi in a couple of days. Heather left her Surface there for safekeeping while we were trekking.

      – Al

  5. Happy Birthday Al! Hope it was a good one.

    Keep the post coming Heather…so loving them!


  6. I so look forward to your posts. They are fantastic. Interesting, great pics and I love reading about the adventures you are all having. Hugs

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