Today we got to discover Hanoi in the North of Viet Nam.
But to be honest today was also for us the opportunity to rest a bit and above all sleep! After these crazy past days and this long trip over here we were looking forward to a lazy morning in bed! So lazy that we ended up waking up at noon! First time since what seems forever, thank you jet lag!
Anyway it is finally fresh and eager that we went on discovering Hanoi Old Quarter. What surprised us the most are how crowded, noisy and messy the streets are! After living in quiet and tidy Vienna, it was quite a cultural shock! But so much energy around!
As we expected the streets are full of traffic. Cars and scooters are everywhere and pedestrians have to find their way between crowded roads and pavements invaded by parked vehicles and street food stalls who install their tables and chairs wherever they find space. Honking is a national sport and can mean so many different things from “Move out the way”, “What are you doing??” to “Hey, you need a ride?”. Although the rules seem quite chaotic, we noticed that nobody is driving at high speed even on the highway. So even if on this first day we witnessed 2 accidents, none ended being very serious, luckily!
Wandering around the city we ended up in front of a wall below the train tracks, a wall covered with pieces of art that make a perfect background for pictures… and this is why there are so many Vietnamese people coming here all dressed up with friends, family or even professional photographers! It was very fun to watch! But also a bit intimidating to pose in our travelers outfits among all these fancy people! Check the pictures!
For lunch we followed a recommendation for a street food stall, which is known especially for its “Pillow Cake” (Banh Ghoi), a deep-fried pastry with pork, vermicelli and mushrooms. We took the opportunity to taste a few other dishes that include Bao (bun) and rolls.
In the afternoon we had 2 breaks, one on a lovely terrace overlooking the street and one at the Train Street while waiting for the train. It gave us the opportunity to try some Cantaloupe Juice and some Vietnamese coffee, first with milk before daring the Hanoi specialty: coffee with… egg! Surprisingly delicious! A fellow traveller we met described it to us as the tiramisu version of a coffee… not far indeed!
In the evening we decided to try some duck specialties: springrolls (so yummy!) and BBQ grilled duck with galangal, herbs and noodles.
An extremely interesting street came to our eyes during one of our random walks through the maze of the Old Quarter of Hanoi. Read more about the Hanoi train street.