The sun was back out again today after a few grey days and Hanoi came beautifully to life. I went out on my bike to visit Tran Quoc Pagoda and Quanh Thanh Temple and then continued cycling around West Lake to meet some friends for mango shake overlooking the lake, and it was — as my mum would say — buzzing.
Young Vietnamese were out in force, taking advantage of the sunshine to cruise or smooch by the lake or enjoy an ice cream or coffee with friends, elderly men in shorts and vest tops sat chatting on benches or playing checkers and cyclists abound. It’s also women’s day today and there seemed to be far more flower sellers out than normal so that added to the beauty of the city — it would have added to the beauty of our house if Paul had got off the sofa and bought me some, but that was not to be. Hmmm.
I was also glad to eventually manage to get to visit the temple and pagoda. When we came here in 2009 Quanh Thanh Temple was closed for refurbishment so we didn’t go in, and I can’t remember why Tran Quoc was off the agenda, but anyway, it was about time I visited and it’s always better to do these things when the weather’s as perfect as it has been today. Tran Quoc is the oldest pagoda in Hanoi, built in the 6th Century AD during the reign of Ly Nam De and it’s an attractive spot, jutting out into West Lake. It’s centre point is a tall tower, captured in an endless number of photos no doubt — we have one from our first trip, taken from the main road — and surrounded by smaller brick structures which I am yet to research the purpose of. But you can read more about that on Travelfish…
The day topped off what has been a lovely weekend. On Friday we were lucky enough to enjoy another degustation dinner at Pots n Pans, prepared by Michelin star chef, Felix Eppisier, and yesterday was a relaxed affair, indulging in BBQ’d chicken and burgers in a friend’s garden. Ahhh, Hanoi.