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Published: April 12th 2015
Next stop, we are now 100km South of Hanoi. We took the night train from Lao Cai to Hanoi...dropped the bags at the hotel by 6am, took a shower, took a nice breakfast...and by 7.30am, we were back on a mini-bus, for a 12 hours excursions. I may never run 100 meters fast....but for the long run, we are trained for it...seriously!
This is a first for Tiffany and Leslie. I did the boat ride back in 1998. Back than, it was just a 2-3 hours drive by car down to the boat landing, 90 minutes on the boat, and back to Hanoi...a good half day on not amazing roads. Even, I still keep great souvenirs of this place. Today, we do the grand tour! We started by visiting the grounds of the former Imperial City. Hoa Lu has been the capital of Vietnam from around 980 for just 30 years. So we visited the temple of King Dinh as well as the temple of King Le. Nice, but I wouldn't used a different word to qualify the place.
The lunch was a nice touristy affair...buffet style...meeting a little more with the people sharing our
small group. 9 of us only, from France, Canada and the Philippines...and us...not really sure from where we are!
Afternoon time, we are still dry...the fog is around us, that should make it for a nice 90 minutes ride on the small paddle boats. It was three of us on our little row boat. Pretty amazing to see these girls rowing only with their feet...and I can tell you, they can race too! You spent time alone with the birds...gorgeous...than you bump into Chinese groups smoking a lot...less gorgeous! 17 years ago the place was nice....well, it's pretty cool up to this date! No regret!
I have to admit it, to avoid all the solicitations to buy any kind of souvenirs, the easiest way still seems to claim that we are living in Saigon. I know it hasn't been for a while, but some of these merchants can be pretty aggressive....so keeping them at bay is for sure a better experience. I did not remember so many boats in Hoa Lu years ago, I guess it doesn't look yet like Halong Bay, but it's on the way. At the end of the day, many
tourists haven't heard about Hoa Lu...yet!
After our little boat ride, time for a little bicycle ride. I won't let the kids ride bicycles to school...way too dangerous...but you are not a kid if you don't the joy of riding bicycles as often as you can. So one more time, we ride...and look at the smiles! This time it's simply to a little pagoda built mainly into caverns. Beautiful place...fun ride...that was a day. By 4.30pm, we were back on our minibus to the long ride to Hanoi. It's not that the road is bad...is that today, Vietnam is packed with cars, trucks, busses...so you have to be patient! By 5pm, the heavy rain started pouring...good, we are in the bus, the day is over...let see what amount of rain we will have tomorrow!
But for today, we kept dry when we had to, and that's part of the fun of travelling! Another beautiful day! Tonight, we are sleeping in a good bed, enjoying a good bath...and tomorrow, it's Hanoi time, finally!
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