We left our apartment in Ha Long and booked a ‘luxury’ van for the trip back to Hanoi, in reality it was a 5 seater minivan with more comfort but the same price as a bus. Despite leaving later than scheduled we arrived in Hanoi early afternoon as the driver didn’t hang around and we were glad to get out of the car as the roads in Vietnam aren’t the best! After being dropped off on the outskirts of the old city we called a Grab taxi and were soon at our apartment being let in by the security guard. We chose this apartment for location, near to the great delis, cafes and bars we have used previously and the fact it had an oven, a rare thing in Vietnam, as Rich wanted to cook a nice meal for my birthday, me wanting steak and chips if at all possible, pepper sauce would be the icing on the cake, maybe a tall ask we’ll see!!
So after the usual cuppa to settle in, we headed out for some shopping, and we found a great grocery store, where amongst other things we found green pepper sauce and olives, now we havent had olives since Australia! Now just to find steak. The next day we headed out to a great new place literally at the end of the lane our apartment was situated on, for the most amazing burritos, Rich having ground beef, I had chicken but both with all the trimmings, lime white rice, sour cream, cheese, black beans, pineapple salsa, jalepenos, so tasty and so filling.
As this was our 3rd time in Hanoi this trip, we had already seen the sights so we headed to the cinema down the road to watch ‘Shazam’ which was a great film and we had ‘sweetbox’ seats which was a sofa for two at the back of the cinema and with only two other people in the cinema it felt like our own private showing.
Rich has already mentioned Joma cafe and bakery in the food blog, we went there again for my birthday breakfast which didn’t disappoint, and on the way back to our apartment we found a small butcher/deli and picked up a nice couple of T-bone steaks. Rich then popped back out on his own and came back with two dozen beautiful red roses, two bottles of wine, and a birthday card, he is very resourceful!
Later that afternoon we walked down to The 100 beer garden for happy hour and pre-birthday dinner drinks, which Rich has covered in the food blog, but they were some great beers and I know I have mentioned this before but the Vietnamese craft beer scene is really thriving with so many brewers, styles, tastes and strengths to please any beer lover.
After three (quite strong) beers each, we walked back to our apaprtment, where Rich cooked a lovely meal of steak, chips and pepper sauce, of course with the obligatory ‘chip butty’, it was delicious and I had a fabulous birthday.
Needless to say after the beers and a bottle of wine we did have slight headaches the next day, soon fixed after a hearty breakfast of cooked eggs. It was pretty warm and high humidity the next few days in Hanoi, though we did get out and stretch our legs.
One of these was to walk down to a botanic garden by the river not far from our apartment, though after a 20 minute walk in 90% humidity we did wonder whether it would be worth it as we were melting! There was hardly anyone there when we arrived, after buying a ticket we wandered amongst all the beautiful flowers currently blooming in full effect, fields of lillies, sunflowers, a cinderella carriage covered with roses, a windmill, lotus pond and thankfully some shady trees to sit under and cool down in the slight breeze, it was lovely even though the heat was oppressive.
Heading back to our apartment we stopped to get a lime slushie each to cool down and got instant ‘brain freeze’. The last couple of days were spent finalising onward travel and doing laundry ready for packing.
Our time in Hanoi and indeed our three wonderful months in Vietnam had come to an end and even though after nearly eleven months, packing up cases ready to move on doesn’t get any easier. Packed, packing double checked, flight checked in, alarms set, ready for Malaysia, first stop Kuala Lumpur.