16.01.2017 - 16.01.2017
We woke up in Hanoi, a city that was impressed upon my consciousness in the early 70's as the USA's Vietnam war grew closer to an end.
This visit has been a total learning experience in terms of why that war happened, what preceded it and why Ho Chi Minh is held in such huge reverence by the people of the North.
Sadly, most things in Hanoi are closed on Mondays so we couldn't see inside his mausoleum, nor could we visit various other places. We did however visit various temples, shrines and places of worship which revealed the complexity of religions that all met here in the north and crossed over or blended into one another. Confucious is certainly well represented as is Hinduism and Buddhism. A regular religious melting plot!
In the afternoon we visited the main art gallery which had collections of ancient artifacts, Buddha's and other religious artifical to. It also housed an extensive art collection much of which was depicting various aspects of the wars for independence, firstly against the French in the 40's and 50s and then the USA. There were many other paintings though from throughout the 20 century. And the quality of much of the art was such that if that gallery was in London it would be full everyday.
Our day ended with a visit to a traditional puppet show, in which the puppets were all in a large water filled pool on the stage. Quite how it was done we couldn't work out but when the puppeteers emerged at the end their top halves were dry!
This evening was spent at the hotel, having dinner and then packing for our drive tomorrow down the coast to our mini cruise.