Tuesday 14 March: 1km train station to hotel.
We arrived in the capital Hanoi bleary eyed at 4AM. We were so exhausted from the long cycle the day before that we slept surprisingly well in reclining seats on the train. The streets were eerily quiet as we cycled to our hotel. There was a vast contrast when we stepped-out a few hours later and the normal chaos had returned. We took a morning stroll around the central lake where the locals were busy playing badminton, taking group aerobics and dance lessons, and practicing tai chi. It was great to see even the very old swinging their hips and it would definitely help the lonely older generation we hear about in the UK.
All our sleepy heads could manage for the rest of the day was to wander around the old quarter. Hanoi is a nice city except for the street hawkers. One lady threw her basket yoke onto my shoulder and her pointed hat onto my head so Alex could take a picture. We knew we were expected to buy some bananas and we were happy to do but not at ten times the going rate as demanded. She took the notes we offered but then snatched back half the bananas from my hands! There was a bit of a tussle and I managed to grab the notes back from her and return the bananas. Unbelievable!
The final leg of our cycling continues in on Northern edge of the country, near the strictly controlled Chinese border. There are the highest mountains up there so we are lightening our load by leaving s bag in Hanoi and slimming down to one rucksack. A strictly monitored packing session, the only luxury item allowed was a toothbrush each. A 6AM bus to take us there, I am looking forward to a lie-in when we get back home!
Vietnam blocked WordPress blog site on 26 February this year which explains why we have had some issues uploading. If you are reading this it is still working!