"One turtle that died in the lake in 1968 weighed in at 550lbs and was 6ft 10 ins long. Its preserved remains are on show at the Ngoc Son Temple which nestles in the lake's northern waters." ~ The Telegraph

was a pleasant surprise.
I am not sure what I expected but it has a unique charm.
Our stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake (Lake of the Restored Sword)
 was embellished with sun kissed reflections...
as we searched for any sign of descendents of the infamous Golden Turtle
swimming around the Turtle Tower.
You can see in the distance, Jade Island, 
connected to the lake by the brightly painted Huc Bridge (Morning Sunlight Bridge).
We were unable to view it during the morning sunlight,
but it is simply magical at night...
where locals and visitors alike seem to linger.

Most countries have their own version of a sandwich,
and the...
is one of my faves. 
In close competition with the Cuban.
and perfect.
If you have the right bread of course.

Finding this local favorite 
was our first challenge with the logistics of Hanoi.
Of course,
Ren Man fell into the photo op con...
but what a cute fruit vendor he is.
We were able to taste the fruit of his labor 
because she had our obligatory purchase ready!

Being in Hanoi for one day and night on each side of our Halong Bay cruise, 
gave us the opportunity to enjoy its complete and utter chaos!
Not for the timid pedestrian!
You basically set your sights on the other side of the road and walk... 
because if you make eye contact with those drivers, you lose.

Our Food on Foot tourguide...
Le Thanh Hieu (Cody)...
was impressed with our bravery...
or stupidity! 

As usual,
food and drink always provide the commas of our travels,
when we pause to absorb the tastes of a city.
 The food tour offered the opportunity to dine with the locals, 
which in Hanoi often means sitting on tiny plastic stools, 
eating with wooden chopsticks 
sticking randomly out of plastic containers like antennas.

On the way to one of our food stops,
Cody pointed out this small music store, three meters wide... 
squeezed between a nail salon and an ancient art shop.
The owner...
and his wife...
and their adult son...
live on the two floors above the shop.
We actually met some 'new' friends from our cruise on the bay
 at the quaint Hanoi Social Club for cocktails...
followed by a creative French/Vietnamese fusion dinner at Green Tangerine.
Being the capital of French Indochina for fifty years 
left many French influences seen throughout the city.
St. Joseph's Cathedral resembles Notre Dame in Paris.

Fortunately, we were in Vietnam for the Mid-Autumn Festival... 
which happens around the full moon 
between mid September and mid October.
Friends and families gather to give thanks for the harvest 
and to spend time together.

Star shaped lanterns and lion dancers 
embellished the already adrenaline boosting, 
sights and sounds of the streets of Hanoi perfectly placed,
like bookends,
on each side of our peaceful cruise on Halong Bay.

Those photos...
next up on the blog!


  1. How fun! So was the food in Vietnam better than Houston? I heard he wasn't, so just wondering. I loved the rice noodle dish you posted, one of my favorites:)

    1. Nerald...you will have to tell me where to go in Houston if it is better than we had on our trip. The French/Vietnamese fusion was outstanding. And...the best bahn mi I have had.


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