18th May 2019; it’s Hot! HOT! HOTTT!!!!!
It was 39°C outside!!! ＼＼٩(๑`^´๑)۶／／
After we applied SPF50 uv lotion and uv spray, off we ordered a grab to the Hồ Chí Minh Mausoleum in Ba Dinh Square. The taxi dropped us at the east side of the square at street, near the government office. It was a super green square, but all was closed we couldn’t enter from there and we had to make a long way u-turn. (」＞＜)」
Everywhere was closed and even with tall-ugly-green wall where we couldn’t even peek what’s inside. We couldn’t see One Pillar Pagoda! But after walked about 1km made our u-turn we finally could see the way in to the Mausoleum where tourists were gathered and queuing to get in. We were told the queue was start even before 9AM. And since we both didn’t like queuing to get ourselves roasted in the sun, we gave it a pass and we countinued make our ways to the West Lake.
Walked through street all the way to Công Viên Bách Thảo (Botanical Garden) and paid VND 2k to go through the park making our way to the north, to the West Lake.
Inside the Botanical Garden was greeneries and small playground for children. We also found two big cages with sad white pigeons inside, and one big cage with even more sad monkeys. It was so sad to see them caged – both animals. Imagine – the garden was their home before the human came and put them in small cages for entertainment – begging for food and freedom. (｡•́︿•̀｡)
Even though it was very cheap to get inside the garden I would not go there again. We only went through the garden because we had to make our way to the famous lake. (；⌣̀_⌣́)
It wasn’t hard to find the large lake. Hồ Tây (West Lake) is the biggest freshwater lake of northwest center of Hanoi, Vietnam. With a shore length of 17 km (about 10.6 miles) and 500 hectare (about 5 km2) in area, this is the largest lake of the capital and a popular place for recreation with many surrounding gardens, hotels and villas. A small part of West Lake is divided by Thanh Nien road to form Trúc Bạch Lake.
West Lake is bordered by many significant places in the history of Hanoi and Vietnam. Trấn Quốc Pagoda, the oldest pagoda in Vietnam, was built in the 6th century by Lý Nam Đế and is located on a small island in the middle of the lake. Near Tran Quoc Pagoda is Quán Thánh Temple, one of the Four Sacred Temples of ancient Hanoi (Vietnamese: Tứ trấn Thăng Long).
Along the way to the Pagoda was a nice and peaceful street with wide sidewalk where people could sit down enjoying the breeze from the lake. While in Vietnam – any in many other Asian countries – it is not allowed to wear sleeveless top and short/skirt to enter the temple. So we didn’t go inside Pagoda and the temple. (￣︿￣)
By the time we reached the Trấn Quốc Pagoda it was almost mid day. Sun was shining so much brighter and it was stinging to our skin. We then walked to the Quán Thánh Temple to take some pictures from the outside and decided to make our lunch break at the nearby Highlands Coffee.
Highlands Coffee here are famous with their Bánh mì – Vietnamese bread. I tried their Roast Chicken Bánh mì and Peach Jelly Tea and they were superb! (o´∀`o)
After cooling down our body temperature with some cold drinks, aircon and fans blowing cold air to us, we were ready to continue our exploration today. But it was still extremely hot and humid outside so we took another grab to Hoàng Thành Thăng Long (Thang Long Imperial Citadel).
Thang Long Imperial Citadel was first built during the Lý dynasty (1010) and subsequently expanded by the Trần, Lê and finally the Nguyễn dynasty. It remained the seat of the Vietnamese court until 1810, when the Nguyễn dynasty chose to move the capital to Huế. The ruins roughly coincide with the Hanoi Citadel today.
But again, we gave it a pass. We didn’t want to pay VND 30k to enjoy some ruins while roasting ourselves. We made our move; took picture with Lenin, took picture of the Flag Tower, and finally we walked to Bảo tàng Mỹ thuật Việt Nam (Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum) and fortunately it was a special day where we did not have to pay to enjoy the arts! (≧◡≦)
Being inside a war museum always make me perturbed; it made me kinda sad but at the same time it was also impressive how the people tried to embrace the sadness of the war and turned it into arts. (っ˘ω˘ς )
Stepping out from the depression of the fine arts, we walked to Văn Miếu (Temple of Literature) where I bought quite a lot of souvenirs. The special souvenirs from this temple was the lucky coins; they sell it for VND 2k each. Each coin has its own meaning; for love, happiness, luck, health, and many more. I was so happy to found these coins because I know exactly which friends need which coins. (⌒ω⌒)
The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 at the time of Emperor Lý Thánh Tông. It is one of several temples in Vietnam which is dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars. The temple layout is similar to that of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, Confucius’ birthplace. It covers an area of over 54000 square metres, including the Văn lake, Giám park and the interior courtyards which are surrounded by a brick wall. In front of the Great Gate are four tall pillars. On either side of the pillars are two stelae commanding horsemen to dismount.
Opposite the temple was Hồ Văn Park with huge-and-fake lotus flower which – I supposed – it could lit up at night. It was a free park with tiny lake behind a small souvenir shack, there was nothing much to do there.
We were both super tired and it was not even 5PM yet! Too early for dinner or go back hotel. We desperately need a foot massage after 17k steps in a super hot and humid day, a spa place not too far from the Hoàn Kiếm Lake. I had a 30 minutes foot massage for VND 250k. And because I am always such a lucky duck, I got extra free 30 minutes for back and shoulder massage. (☆▽☆)
From the massage place I walked to the famous St. Joseph Cathedral nearby while Ann has yet to finish her massage and heading for her Phở. Mass was just started at the Cathedral when I arrived there and I decided not to skip this week as well. Here is my story about the church.
We met up again later at 7PM at Twilight Sky Bar, a recommended bar with 4.8 stars from Google.
And that’s it for today. We had to wake up very early tomorrow for the-most-awaiting-cruise’ pick up!
I can’t wait!!! °˖✧◝(o＾▽＾o)◜✧˖°