Arriving at Hanoi Rocks Hostel in Hanoi, Vietnam, I am immediately taken by the music themed interior and sold when I meet the hostel’s resident cats.  With little planned for the next day, I signed on to the free walking around Hanoi’s Old Quarter tour the hostel offered.

We started off by walking to Hoan Kiem Lake.  This roughly translates as lake of the returned sword and is said to be where the Emperor Lê Lơi returned the magic sword, Heaven’s Will, to the Golden Turtle God, Kim Qui.  I have to say with this story and the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legend I begin to detect an interesting premise for conspiracy.


We had a look and the Hanoi Opera House but then the skies opened so we went and ate ice cream and looked around a fancy mall until it stopped raining.


Our next stop was St Joseph Cathedral.  Despite the infusion of French influence throughout the Old Quarter, the cathedral still seemed very severe and out of place next to cheerfully painted façades and balconies overflowing with plants.


There is something so refreshing about cities filled with the vibrant green of nature.


With the tour over, we sat down on the pavement to enjoy lunch.  This proved to be an interesting mix of chopsticks and fingers.  I would love to see an English food inspector’s face at these delightful open fronted cafes and restaurants.