I’m getting back to blogging after a week, not because there was a dearth of topics, but rather because there was so much else to do with my cousin, Uju, around. She is not your typical shopping maniac, so I had planned more sightseeing, which ended up something like this:
Day 1: A walk around Hoan Kiem Lake, and dinner at Al Fresco’s
Day 2: Trek at Ba Vi National Park, dinner at j.a.f.a. We also baked a flourless chocolate cake sometime during the day, and enjoyed it for the rest of the week.
Day 3: Visit to the Flower Market, then walk around Tay Ho to Tran Quoc Pagoda, and back home on a motobike (xe om). Later, shopping at Old Quarters (we got beautiful gifts for Uju’s sister, Aparna, and ordered some clothes to be tailored for ourselves), dinner at Thai Express, and ice cream at Fanny.
Day 4: Visit to the Temple of Literature, relax, pack for the next 2 days.
Day 5: Flight to Hoi An. We spent the afternoon at the seaside, and evening in Hoi An ancient town, where Uju couldn’t stop admiring and photographing the delightful architecture. Ordered some shoes – leather ones for Uju, silk for me, bought lanterns. Dinner at Mango Mango and ice cream at Casa Verde.
Day 6: Tour to My Son, to see the ruins of the Champa kingdom, short stop at Kim Bong Carpentry Village, and long stop at Hoi An market to sight-see and shop some more. Back to Hanoi.
Day 7: Sightseeing at Hoa Lo Prison museum, collected some of the tailored clothes, ordered some more, dinner with our neighbours.
Day 8 & 9: Heavenly bliss at Halong Bay; Sindhu joined us for this one. A fun drive to Halong with lots of food, plenty of activities on the cruise – trekking to the peak of Titop hill, kayaking in the Bat cave, getting awed by the limestone in the Surprise cave, wine tasting, chilling on the deck, admiring the rock formations.
Before we knew it, Uju’s trip had come to an end 😦 . For a non-shopper, she was surprisingly tempted by all the Vietnamese offerings, and did a healthy count of souvenirs and gifts 😀 . Of coursed, there was plenty of space for her shopping – after handing out the vast number of Gangar snacks that she’d got for us :-P.