These are the notes of a ten days journey of an Eurasian couple from Hong Kong to Hanoi, and back. We decided to travel by train in order to taste and watch all the 100% beauty and variety starting from Hong Kong towards Guangzhou, Nanning and to eventually reach Hanoi on the early morning of the third day. Then spending six full days to explore the Vietnamese capital and her surroundings, to finally embark on the same journey at reverse. The verdict was: cool.
DAY 1 SLEEP
We re arriving in Nam Ning by train in a couple of hours. The landscape outside the window is intense green. Jeff s sleeping on the soft bed above. We are sharing the compartment with two young boys. This was the first night in the train starting in GZ city. Here we spent some time in the most amazing mall and i was really happy to say goodbye to the obstinate luxury of South China.
DAY 2 NATURE
We are now in the train to Hanoi after having enjoyed wandering, hotel couching, dining in Nam Ning. This city reminds of South America eh eh. And of Napoli ah ah. We found a lovely local canteen run by a chubby cool lady along one of the main roads adjacent to the railway station. They served us the tastiest bowl of noodles and wanton. Next to it a family bakery with the most flavorful scallion pancakes and so on. Goodnite: we have already taken position in our soft beds; this time we are sharing the room with a Vietnamese-American couple. Outside is only pure nature. Beautiful. Open spaces.
DAY 3 MUSIC
The cock is singing and singing from some street around here, since we have arrived here very early morning at the hotel in Hanoi. Resting and looking forward to the rest of the day. To meet our musician friends from Aussie and having fun at their concert tonite, scheduled at another awesome Hotel nearby.
DAY 4 HEAVEN
So today we joined our group of friends from Ozland and Vietnam on a daily trip that took us three hours far from the city to the most wonderful geological park of Vietnam and now we are in the minibus on the way back to Hanoi city. We were all stunned by the beauty of the land and could even do some canoeing and swimming in the deep waters in betweens the rocks. It was simply heaven to say it in one word.
DAY 5 WET
We went exploring and roamed around the beautiful Hoam Kiem lake of this district called also Old district with its red bridge and a temple to remember confucian plus taoist philosophers; then the tropical rain poured for some time, the air was fresh afterwards and we ended with a late lunch and some spa relaxing time.
DAY 6 FANCY
We are now heading to the Fabric market, Cho Ham, while side walking the small lake south the hotel. This area has lots of pretty fashionable local shops plus more from Japan, Korea. Vietnamese lady fashion designers are just cool and smart. Simply looking at the cut of either their traditional and modern dresses you ll understand how good, pretty and practical their message is. The evening brought us the pamper of a foot massage plus the fanciness of a dinner at a place called ‘wild lotus restaurant’.
DAY 7 EXPLORE
We walked all the way up to the north in a village of copper craftmenship once, crossing the neatest district with villas, embassies and famous historical plazas with statues, pinnacles and monuments. Hanoi seems very Italian to me, not only for its facade and alleys but also for its lifestyle and pace. We passed thru great art galleries roads, silk and embroidery road, souvenirs alleys. Moreover we found ourselves all of a sudden strolling along a rustic tea market just behind the century old bridge Long Bien. By chance later we were in front of a modern theatre building and some young boys from France sold us two extra tickets to watch the popular ‘water puppet show’ starting in minuts. We went in and it was an hour of fun and childlike plus cultural enjoyment. What i admired most in this art form was the ability to blend musical instruments, singing, acting and water puppeting all in once. Terrific job. This 1000 years old city is so gorgeous and puts lots of stress on art, technology, medical and humanitarian fields. You can tell it from the buildings and the universities located here. It was also home to the first western style university of Indochina during its old times. I have also travelled to Ho Chi Minh two times priorly and found that the spirit and the genuine culture of Vietnam resides in Hanoi today.
DAY 8 FAMILIAR
It was National museum of history and a spa time. Vietnam map looks almost like the Italian one. There is an historical highlight I loved: “It was patriotism, not communism, than inspired me” quoting Mr. Ho Chi Minh. After a family kitchen experience finally time to come to the station. The train to Nanning is leaving in 10 minuts, goodnite from the soft bed compartment all for us.
DAY 9 FUN
The day spent in Nanning was lots of fun and some gorgeous accidental shopping. We took the rikshaw up to Nanhu Lake park towards southeast; the drivers here are amazing and they can drive totally e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. and in a.n.y. direction to reach the destination. The bamboo forest, the lake and the tropical rain were waiting for us. Beautiful area! In Nanning on the way back lunch and dinner were exactly at the same two places of the week before (plus the chubby smiling lady was happy to see us again). The train to GZ was late at night.
DAY 10 WINDOW
We travelled overnight in a sitting compartment all violet and cute. Landscape outside is purely agricultural mixed with construction sites. Lots of big butterflies outside the window too. Guangzhou is waiting. Then Hong Kong.