Vikki: Following our overnight journey on the train we have arrived in Hanoi. The 12 1/2 hour trip, which arrived at 5.30am, was pretty much as expected, 4 smallish bunk beds in a small "suite" (yeah right), wobbling around most of the night in between trying to get patches of sleep, on dirty sheets. Mmmmm, again all part of the experience, and nothing a hot shower as soon as we got to our hotel couldn't fix. Glad to have done it to say we've tried all modes of transport, but also that we only had one journey!
After a short rest we were off for a stroll around Hoan Kiem Lake, taking in the local sites, and enjoying yet another ice cream (well the kids anyway). Definitely a bit cooler here, busier with people and traffic but has a nice feel to it. Off to Halong Bay for a 2 night cruise tomorrow morning (oh yeah) then back to Hanoi for a couple more days, and a bit more sight seeing before we say goodbye to Vietnam and Asia.
Anouk: Today we arrived in Hanoi on our overnight train. In the taxi on the way to our hotel we saw a motorbike with a dead pig on it. Later we went for a walk around the lake and I tried fishing. I made a fishing rod out of 2 sticks and a rubber band. We put some bait on the end (caramel sesame slice). Some tiny fish came and nibbled at it, and it kept falling off, but we didn't catch anything because we didn't have a hook.
Later we visited the Hoa Lo Prison. On the top of the prison walls they stuck sharp pieces of glass in concrete, to try to stop the prisoners from escaping. There was a separate area for men and women. There wasn't enough food and water to go round, so often the women suffered more. We saw the clothes they wore in prison and an American Fighter Pilot uniform.
Harley: Today we arrived in Hanoi at 5.30 in the morning. I didn't get a good sleep because the train was constantly jerking and moving around a lot. I enjoyed it though because its the first time I have ever been on an overnight train. Later in the afternoon, we walked down to Hoa Lo Prison. We saw old jail cells and examples of how the prisoners lived. In the mens cell they had their feet shackled in irons. We came across a guillotine which was used to chop peoples heads off if they were sentenced to death. It was also a warning to other prisoners to obey the rules. The prison was built in 1896 by the French and held political prisoners and later, captured American Fighter Pilots. The pilots nick-named the prison "The Hanoi Hilton".
Raj: Today the children pulled and we all benefited from the constant interest the locals have in them. We had lunch at the Joma Cafe and were treated to 4 free tubs of fresh organic ice-cream - delicious peanut butter (which reminded me of the peanut butter smoothies in Fiji), strawberry and boysenberry. Yum!