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Published: January 31st 2010
This lake in Hanoi is a good central location, and nice to sit down at for a view.
We slept in a bit today, thanks to not having an accidental wakeup call, and the loud squeaky pipes taking a break.
We needed to head back to Kangaroo Cafe to pay for our tour, as it was due a day before departure. Going to the ATM and withdrawing two million dong (Vietnamese currency) feels strange, as we haven't been used to having a million ANYTHING at our fast cash fingertips.
After paying, we enjoyed the lake some more, although some parts appear to be fairly polluted.
Walking over to St. Joseph's Cathedral (built in 1886) did not take long, and we soaked up all the beauty.
Right across the street is an incredibly cute coffee place, named La Place. We decided to try it out as we had heard good things, and sure enough, it was good. For about 30 minutes or so, we enjoyed an amazing mango smoothie and a white chocolate blended coffee (I wonder who that was for)
Our next stop was the Temple of Literature. An architectural gem, this place was dedicated to Confucius and served as a university many hundreds of years ago. On the temple grounds, preserved are 82
St. Joseph's Cathedral
Not too far of a walk from our guesthouse.
stone tablets honoring the names of over 1,300 graduates during 1442 to 1779.
Hungry, we went searching for another "good cause" place to eat that we read about. Know One Teach One (KOTO) is another organization that trains and hires former street youth in the cooking industry. Many graduates of programs like this go on to work in 5 star hotels around the world. Like the other places like this we've gone to in S.E. Asia, the food at KOTO was phenomenal. We both enjoyed a tasty pumpkin soup (I accidentally took more than my share, sorry Staci), a Medatarian style grilled veggie sandwich for Staci, and a flavorful beef noodle dish for me.
We decided to stop and sit again at the lake before heading over to the Ngoc Son Temple. The temple is on a small island in the middle of the lake, so crossing a pretty foot bridge was in order. We took some pictures, paid the inexpensive entrance fee and took in all the gorgeous views from this little island temple. One of the attractions here was the embalmed remains of a gigantic tortoise.
Needing a break, we went back to our guesthouse
Sitting at La Place, Staci reads our travel book as a bike zooms by
for some down time. Refreshed, it was time to go out for dinner, so we chose Le Pub, a popular British themed place that we were not too impressed with. Staci, still wanted to try the noodle soup that is the main food here, so she ordered the vegetarian kind, and didn't have much flavor. I ordered fish and chips that left me with similar sentiments. Oh well.
Our night was not over, as we had tickets to see the water puppet show at 9:15pm. This art form originated in northern Vietnam, so this was the place to see it. The theater was fairly small, but packed in quite the crowd, making the already small seats much more uncomfortable for me. Leg room is key for me, but not much exists around here. The show itself was an hour, and we enjoyed it enough, but wouldn't say it was a must see event. However, it was certainly impressive to see so many puppets in water, and all the work it must take from the people to work them.
Needing to wake up early tomorrow for our 3 day adventure, we headed off to get some sleep.
Temple of Literature
Entrance walk to the historic temple
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