Friday, September 23, 2022

Arriving in Hanoi and Wandering Over to Hoan Kiem Lake

After Paris, we're home briefly then off to Vietnam and Korea.  Vietnam has removed all Covid restrictions, but Korea requires proof of vaccination and two Covid tests, one just before getting on the plane and one within 3 days of arrival (we take it at the Seoul airport when we arrive).

We arrive first in Vietnam, where it is raining in Hanoi and and we have a spectacular view of the city and clouds from our hotel room.  The next morning, the storm is gone and a beautiful sky sits over the city.

View from our room

Wandering outside of our hotel, the sidewalks are full of food stalls offering wonderful smelling meals and are packed at lunch and dinner.

Temping offers

We first head over to Hoan Kiem Lake, where we'll return later for dinner, and wander around the lake and over the bridge to the Temple of the Jade Mountain dedicated to Confucian and Taoist philosophers and the national hero Trần Hưng Đạo.

Hoan Kiem Lake

We cross the bridge to the temple and explore its beautiful island location.

Entering the temple

Wandering through the temple

In the temple we find a specimen of the Ho Guom Tortoise, closely attached to the legend of King Le who returned a sacred sword to the tortoise genius of Ho Luc Thuy (the former name of Ho Guom).  It is believed that the sacred sword is buried somewhere deep in Hoan Kiem Lake ("Ho Hoan Kiem" or Lake of the Sword Restored).

Ho Guom Tortoise

Outside the temple, we have more spectacular views of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Views of the lake

Across the street from the temple, we find the Martyrs' Monument erected as a memorial to those who died fighting for Vietnam's independence.  Alongside the statue in the monument are large displays that are currently encouraging anti-Covid measures.

Martyrs' Monument

A short walk away, we're in Hanoi's old town and watching as daily work (and naps) in the city go by.

Wandering into old town

We return to our hotel for more of the great views, preparing to return to Hoan Kiem Lake in a few hours for dinner.

The day winds down

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