Hanoi was a much-needed getaway and a great way to hit the ‘reset’ button on the year – we were looking forward to the cool weather, delicious simple food, and the beautiful, calm sanctuary that is the Sofitel Metropole.
The hotel was festively decked out – a lovely welcome.
First up, lunch. We headed straight for the Vietnamese restaurant in the hotel, Spice Garden. The best bun cha (grilled pork skewers and rice noodles) ever can be found here.
Then we headed out for a stroll. The streets were bustling and lively. Clearly people were in a cheery mood in preparation for the New Year.
This Angry Bird game made me smile. Comes complete with iPhone!
Afternoon tea at Paris Deli, our favourite cafe.
Nearby, we discovered the cutest little textiles store. Well-made and affordable table runners and scarves came home with us.
This street corner seemed to be the ‘hip and happening’ hangout spot among Hanoi youths, who were sipping lemon tea and chewing on kwa chee while giggling over Youtube videos on their iPads.
We stopped this street vendor to buy…
… some masks! Doing it like the locals :-) But no, really, the pollution was getting to us.
The next pit-stop was M’s favourite banh mi store, Nguyen Sinh. Banh mi is this east-meets-west sandwich with French baguette, and a mixture of mystery-meat cold cuts. We’ve also seen banh mi with veg (lettuce, carrots, onions) but this store didn’t include veg.
The Hello Kitty calculator was begging to be photographed :-)
There were lots of people buying calendars for 2012 – yeah, analogue rules!
Back to the hotel for the evening. The lights were so pretty and festive, I felt so lucky to be here with M :-)
By the poolside, the best creme brulee ever. Eggy and soft and perfectly crisp on the top, with an almond tuile biscuit.
Next, the New Year’s eve celebrations, cha ca la vong, and more.