19.01.2013 - 19.01.2013
View Great Escape to the East! on Tam-Jo's travel map.
We were meant to start the day early and head out on a jam-packed city tour. But at 1am this morning when we got home we decided to sack it off and flipped a coin to see who would go down to reception at 7am to cry off sick. Tam lost! So just before check out at 11am one of the lovely members of staff came up to see if there was anything she could do to help, seeing as I was supposedly suffering with an awful case of food poisoning. According to Tam I do a pretty good job of pretending to be very sick, but we both felt bad for lying to the lovely staff here. It was effective though, as she made sure we didn't have to pay anything for the tour that we cancelled!
As we were both feeling a tad hungover from the night before we headed out to an Italian restaurant for some stodgy food, YUM! Then the guilt set in, and what was going to be a day of doing nothing turned into a day of sight seeing. We went to the pavilion on lake Hoan Kiem and saw a replica of the GIANT tortoise that lives there and supposedly took some magic sword off someone and buried it in the depths of the lake (as you can tell we weren't exactly paying the best attention to the information boards!). Then we went to Joma for some chocolate cake to give us some energy. Onwards to St Josephs Cathedral where we crashed a wedding ceremony - it was very nice! Our final stop for the day was the very interesting, if a little depressing, Hoa Lo Prison Museum. It was a no holds barred look at what prison life was like for communist Vietnamese rebels during the French colonisation of Vietnam. We think the information was probably a little one sided and there was a lot about communist "heroes", but you couldn't escape the eerie feel of the place. Plus, we had the whole prison pretty much to ourselves nearing dusk..... it was very spooky! The pictures of severed heads hanging in the prison yard didn't help!! Anyway, it was a very interesting hour.
Apologies there are no photos of this sightseeing...we were both too lazy to take our cameras out so we just used Tam's iPhone...and as mentioned in a previous blog Tam's iPhone erased all it's contents! Oops!
Tonight we board the overnight train to Sapa, in the mountains of Northern Vietnam! We have been warned that it is cold up there..... we are not prepared for that!!