Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hanoi: the old Quarter and the lake

Friday 10th December was our 1st day in Hanoi and we walked and we walked and we walked.  We had a hotel in the old quarter that was conveniently located, clean, quite cheap with really helpful staff. 

We had a walking map to follow and it concentrated on the various streets in the old quarter.  In the old quarter streets have the name of the goods that were, and often still are, sold there.  So there is a shoe street, paper street, silk street, carpet street, bamboo street - you get the picture.

The streets are vibrant and there are a large number of small shops in this capitilist communist country.  The old buildings are maintained rather than being bowled over and are often side-by-side with new buildings.  Every shopfront is quite narrow, but the buildings extend back a fair distance.  This was due to an old tax based on the width of your street front

Dotted throughout are the streets were the communal houses.  Each of these was set up by the guild and once inside the gates you enter a quiet inner sanctum away from the traffic people and noise.  We went into a few of these and at one a lady opened an area for us to see the other temples and artefacts.

We walked around the lake - Sword Lake.  Last month Hanoi had celebrations to mark 1000 years!

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