An early start today to beat the crowds at the various monuments we were visiting. First up was a short bus journey to Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. It was an amazing building in beautiful grounds. (Although I have to say visiting a dead person was not what I would call a holiday attraction!).
The mausoleum, palace and house on stilts are all governed by the Honor Guards, who were rather scary with their bayonets.
We had lots of insight in to Vietnam's history today including Uncle Ho's huge role in Vietnam's independence from the French. We visited the service quarters which Ho Chi Minh used instead of the Presidential Palace and then the house on stilts which was built for him by the people. After this we briefly stopped by the one pillar pagoda.
This beautiful archwayis at the Temple of Literature which is where Confucious lived and taught his disciples. This is a very important place for Vietnamese people and many try to follow in Confucious' teachings.
Many people visit the Confucious Temple to worship his statue and ask for assistance in exams. Many people come here to have photos taken when they graduate from college.
We then had some free time where we had lunch (Hanoi spring rolls and Beef fried rice), a leisurely coffee and wrote postcards home.
The evening was taken up by a walk through Hanoi's Old Quarter to the Water Puppet Theatre. The show was interesting but once you had seen a few of the sketches I had had enough. Luckily it only lasted about 45 minutes.
Tonights group meal was at 'Little Hanoi' and consisted of a 4 course banquet. Pumpkin soup, Spring Rolls, 5 spice chicken, catfish with dill, Caramelised Pork, Grilled aubergine and steamed rice. Dessert was a selection of fresh fruit. All of which was washed down nicely with local beer.
All packed and ready to set sail in Ha Long Bay tomorrow!