Kade kneels next to a stream formed by the San Francisco Glacier, about two hours outside Santiago, Chile.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hanoi, Vietnam

I've traveled to Vietnam twice - both roundtrips from Bangkok. In 2000, I was backpacking, and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) was my destination. To read about that experience, click here. Then, in 2006, Kade and I traveled to the capital city, Hanoi.  We stayed in the Prince Hanoi Hotel, which we would highly recommend. 

From an e-mail I sent from Hanoi:

Hanoi is a fascinating city of 3.5 million people. We are staying in what's called the Old Quarter, an area rich in history (a thousand years) and rich in abundant cafes and boutiques. Below is an excerpt from a NY Times article that underscores the significance of cafes and coffee in Vietnam.  One our our favorite hangouts has been Highlands Coffee. Tonight we had a hazelnut steamer and a white chocolate hot cocoa.  Delicious!

The coffee at the Café Pho Co is some of the best in Hanoi, a city that takes its coffee seriously. Unlike the rest of Asia -- a tea-drinking continent, by and large, and a wasteland of instant Nescafé packets for your java-loving Western traveler -- Vietnam has a cafe culture to rival Italy's. Along with the colonial architecture and the fresh baguettes that are still sold on street corners, coffee is one of Vietnam's most pleasant legacies from its years of French rule.  - Hanoi's Cafe Society

Click here for some information about some of the lovely temples we saw in the city. 

that's me on the upper right, coffee in hand

Kade making a citrus buy

the infamous Hanoi Hilton, where POW John McCain was held

Kade (center) with Vietnamese ladies

doing what I do best

Overall, we had a very favorable impression of Vietnam.  Friendly people, chilly weather, beautiful lakes, lovely ladies, great shopping, strong coffee, striking landmarks. 

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