Today I decided to walk over to the park and open spaces where Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum is. Its a pretty decent walk from the Old Quarter and I got there to find out its closed on Fridays. I’m glad I have sufficient time here in Hanoi to do repeat trips. Also the weather today was a bit bad in the morning so I took shelter as the rain fell at a Helio Coffee Shop wherein an Egg Coffee and a delightful conversation was had with a French couple. We discussed the best ways to see Vietnam and the cities and historic locales and they also walk. We agreed that taking a tour while it may be easier out of the gate was a limited advantage. One thing is that a tour only shows you what the tour guide wishes you to see. Another is you have only limited time so you cannot go left and right and doubleback and get lost. That’s a huge dealbreaker to me. I would prefer to just wander the city streets with the camera in hand. We discussed various places to retire and how I ended up in Asia and how he will go back to France and retire to a place like Spain or Portugal. It was a delightful interlude on a rainy morning. Only he spoke english so he translated for his wife as we went. As the coffees were getting done he let me know they were going to Sapa next which is a backpacking and trekking location. They will not go to southern Vietnam on this trip. They are also going to Halong Bay for a few days.
When we finished talking, the rain had finished falling so it was time to see the open spaces where the Mausoleum and park is. Its really nice to find a place wide open with grassy lawns and space to walk. The Old Quarter can get “hemmed in” with bikes, cars, and scooters at times.
The skies were kind of cloudy or misty out so I determined to take photographs after the rain event primarily and spent a few hours wandering around the historic locations. Here are a few frames from the various places in the Mausoleum complex.
As you can see the sky was rather gloomy out but the architecture and open spaces were superb to be freely walking in.
After some hours of exploration, I charted a different way back to Hoan Kiem district and the lake to do some reading and intake of a few beers. I have been very lucky here to put in over 12k of steps or over 5 miles all days. I was kinda wondering how I would do this since I am addicted to walking and I need the daily fix. Its been easy to walk here even if I don’t chart a destination like today.
Now its almost time for some Pho Bo for dinner right next to the hotel I may watch a movie and partake of a few beers in the room tonight. Its Friday and back in the states I would have a few beers on a Friday and watch old movies. I can still do both since there are old movies on YouTube I like to watch but its from my laptop.
This marks two weeks in Hanoi and I feel I have not really scratched the itch walking and exploring here yet. In a few weeks though, I will go off to Halong Bay for a few days and then will get back and go to Hoi An which is a heritage site. By the time those trips are done, my time here in Hanoi will be winding down to the weeks and it will be time for my Visa run to Hong Kong and then the train ride to Ho Chi Minh City and my stay there.