Took the night bus from Hanoi to Sapa
and arrived in this delightful mountain town.
One of its main attractions is this old church
where Hmong vendors sell little knick-knacks
although they have an allotted market
and they aren’t allowed to sell stuff on the streets
because of some code of conduct for visitors.
There is a lake and a park
another of their public spaces,
that is well kept and tourist friendly
(reminded me of Boulder, Colorado).
Sapa is home to the Hmong community
and we found this grandma making clothes
I had to buy one for myself so I chose one
and gladly obliged from this local tribal designer.
Sapa had its leftover French architecture
and looked like there were new hotels coming up.
There was a square in the middle of the town
a picturesque setting
nice to just sit and watch people
playing football, volleyball and chilling
there were young kids
dressed in traditional attires
who would try sell little trinkets and bracelets
Towards the end of the day
we also managed to visit the church
blessed bountifully to be in this beautiful town.
I first heard about Halong Bay
from a professor at a museum workshop.
he talked about ecotourism in these islands
and his involvement with its world heritage move.
I have been here twice now and
it is undoubtedly a museum of its own kind.
These cruises usually take you
to one of the many caves in the islands
and we got to see the hang Dau Go this time.
The best part about the trip
this time however, was the sun.
It was warm and sunny
topped with some wine
towards the last stretch.
We were staying in Hà Nội Old Quarter
and walked to the infamous train track street
The charm of this place is the train tracks
that passes through the settlements of the people.
There are cafés and food stalls
as people dry their laundry and
go about everyday business like
the trains tracks are part of their cityscape.
After our visit to the tracks,
we kept walking, soaking all
the sights and sounds…
till we found ourselves
in front of the oldest catholic church in Hà Nội
St. Joseph’s Cathedral had that old gothic architecture
and an all embracing aura in front of the church.
Travellers, students, photographers, newlyweds
all seemed to find something to do in front of the church
(this is why public space is so important)
We too found ourselves a small stall
and drank some yougurt and Vietnamese coffee
Then, we walked some more
in search of a good roadside lunch
and we weren’t disappointed at all…
one can always do museums and more museums in Hà Nội
but that was taken care of in the last trip so we just walked.
The best part about walking is
you get distracted by very many things
and while it is a good thing
the Trấn Quốc Pagoda was already closed
by the time we reached there.
But we gathered so much more
in terms of getting to know the city
and I could only be so grateful
for this walking experience.
By evening, the Hoàn Kiếm Lake had lit up
and the square was bustling with activities.
For dinner, we sat by the road once again
in this Cơm Gà corner which apparently means chicken rice
but what were we to know, we ordered beef rice with vegetables
and that gravy chilly chicken which was sweeter than expected
but what a feast to end a wonderful day of walking in Hà Nội.