Friday 17 January 2014

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 10 - Hanoi

Our last day in Vietnam was spent walking around Hanoi again. This time with a wider berth. I think we'll do this in photos again...

Military dudes walking up and down the sidewalk in front of the Federal Government Office.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 9 - Hanoi

For our first full day in Hanoi, we followed a walking tour that Alyssa had found in the guide book she bought. I think this will be another photo post.

We three teas of orient are... delicious. Lunch at The Little Black Duck is highly recommended!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 8 - Hanoi

It was the drive from Ha Long City back to Haiphong where I was most struck by the beautiful architecture. This is when I really started taking pictures. Which became awkward because the windows of the train from Haiphong to Hanoi were very foggy. This post will be filled with foggy photos. Sorry.

Duplex, Vietnamese style!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 7 - Ha Long Bay

If you've been following along, you might noticed that I skipped Day 6. That was basically a transit day. We had an early afternoon flight from Da Nang to Haiphong via propeller plane. Then it was a three hour drive (because our driver wouldn't go faster than 40km/h) to our hotel in Ha Long City. We had a disappointing dinner at the hotel and went to bed early. Not worth a whole post. Ha Long Bay, however...

Karsts in the mist.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 5 - Hoi An

We really only had one day in Hoi An. (Two sleeps.) So we just did the touristy things. And boy-o was this a touristy town!

Being super touristy.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 4 - Ho Chi Minh City

Merry Christmas! Our fourth day in Vietnam was Christmas day. We spend the day wandering around Saigon and ended the day at the airport to fly up to Hoi An.

We started with another lovely breakfast at the hotel.

Amazing bread!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh City

Our third day in Vietnam was spent on a bus. About three hours each way to visit the Cao Đài Holy See and Củ Chi Tunnels. These are two fascinating pieces of Vietnamese history and culture.
Worshippers in the Temple.

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City

Our second day in Saigon started off early with an amazing breakfast. 

Mini pho for breakfast!

Vietnam for Christmas! Day 1 - Ho Chi Minh City

For Christmas 2013 my husband Evan and I, along with our friend Alyssa, did a quick trip to Vietnam. Ten days in this complex country isn't really enough but it's what we had. Our destinations were all "H" cities: Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Ha Long and Ha Noi.

People like to ask, "What was your favourite part?" or "What surprised you the most?" Vietnamese food has been some of my absolute favourite for years (shout out to Viva on Sargent!) and the country did not disappoint! The second 'favourite' thing and most surprising was the beautiful architecture. It was like a modern take on French Colonial with Asian flare. Stunning! I wish I had thought to take more pictures early on. Both of these themes will come up throughout this trip blog. Consider them the main motifs.

I should also note that this trip was inspired, in part, by Top Gear and Anthony Bourdain.

We flew in to Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon) on a Sunday afternoon. Our day started super early so we were tired but excited to jump in!

Our first glimpse of Vietnam from the taxi.

Thursday 9 January 2014

13 in 2013

I'm a bad blogger. I've done the A to Z challenge twice where you have to blog every day for the month of April but then I go months in a row without posting anything. It's the beginning of a new year so it's time for a quick review. I'm still planning to write some blogs on travel we did this past autumn once I find the time...

Coincidentally, I read 13 books and visited 13 countries in this past year of 2013. So that's how my review is going to go this year. In chronological order (note that the Philippines has been our temporary residence and all trips came and went from here this year):

1. The Philippines (The Street Lawyer by John Grisham) - I live in the Philippines right now so it seems an injustice to try to summarize it but here goes: It's really hot and the people are really nice. Done. Grisham is classic and my husband said this book changed the course of his life when he was in school so there.