Strolling through the French Quarter
The French Quarter is laid out as an organized grid. Motorbikes and cars whip by much faster than they should be. Bikes are parked on the sidewalk, which means we must walk out into the street to make any progress. Hanoi isn’t very tall, most of the buildings are only 4-5 stories. The roads are a bit dirty and packed with traffic all the time. We really enjoyed strolling around the city.
We ate dinner at Xuan Xuan BBQ all 3 nights in Hanoi. This sounds ridiculous, but it was so good. We pulled up our stools and loaded our hot plate with all sorts of meat and vegetables. Sometimes the boiling oil would jump off the plate and singe our skin. The make-your-own sauce with lemon and herbs was delicious. Each night, we aimed to try a different place, but each night we ended up back here. It was just too good.
We stopped at Banh Mi 25 during one of our strolls through the French Quarter. Banh Mi is basically a deli sandwich on French bread, but something about it was special. The bread-making skills in Vietnam are superb.
Vietnam Women’s Museum
The highlight of this stop was at the entrance. Rehahn is a French photographer and his work was portrayed on the front steps of the museum. He specializes in taking close-up portraits of women’s faces. Most are older. Some are smiling. Some are serious. They were all beautiful. Annie added the photographer to Instagram, which says a lot.
We spent a day outside of Hanoi and drove to Halong Bay. Sure, it was beautiful, but if we could go back and do it again, we probably would have chosen something else. The mountains looked very similar to Koh Yao Noi and Yangshuo, so we didn’t feel like it was new. The weather was also sub-par. It was a bit cloudy and chilly and we spent most of the day in the car just traveling to Halong Bay and back to Hanoi. We took a boat ride for 3 hours around the island mountains and met some people that we liked on the ride. We may just be ready to head back to the US.