As you’ve read from Porko in his guest post; after our luxurious train ride and checking into Queen Light Hotel, we headed out for lunch. We were recommended (empfehlen) a local dish called Bún Cha by one of the nice receptionists and we made sure not to miss the opportunity to try it. Bun Cha is a Hanoi specialty (Spezialität) with grilled pork, white rice noodles and vegetables. It is all mixed in a bowl with broth (Brühe). Tasted delicious.

Next, we headed towards Hoan Kiem Lake, through the busy streets of Old Town, Hanoi. One thing caught (fangen) our attention (Aufmerksamkeit) straightaway (sofort). All streets seemed to have a different “topic” (Thema). At one street you could buy anything that is made out of stainless steel (Edelstahl), at the next street you could buy anything that has to do with locking things. Quite curious (merkwürdig), but it made it easy for us to remember (erinnern) how to get back to the hotel! Queen Light Hotel is located just around the corner (um die Ecke) of stainless steel street 🙂

Hoan Kiem Lake is a big lake right in the middle of the Old Town. It features the Red Bridge which leads (führen) to a temple on a small island. As the bridge and therefore also the temple was overly busy (es war extreme viel los), we decided to give it a pass (auslassen) and move on to a place I was very keen on going to; the Vietnamese Women’s Museum.

The museum is, as the name suggests, dedicated to Vietnamese Women and their role (Rolle) in history as well as modern society.
There are 4 floors (Etagen); on three you can find a permanent exhibition (Ausstellung) which is divided into three topics: women in family, women in history and women’s fashion.

“Women in family”, for example, informs about the different roles and positions of a woman in wedding ceremonies (Hochzeitszeremonien) in different ethnic groups all around Vietnam; the rituals (Rituale) related to the desire (Wunsch) for children; the way a woman is treated throughout the pregnancy (Schwangerschaft), giving birth, and the care of the new mothers and newborn. Lastly, it informs about the tasks of women in everyday life like fishing, cooking and sewing (nähen). All the information given is featured by an array of photos and objects.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect (erwarten), but I must say, I found this museum very interesting. Even though gender roles still heavily apply (gelten) to Vietnamese culture, there are quite a few women, especially during the Vietnamese War, that escaped the traditional image (traditionelles Bild) of a women staying at home, cooking meals and educating (erziehen) the children. There were many stories about female war heroes (Kriegsheldinnen) and it seemed as they were proudly (stolz) displayed in the museum.

The following day we walked to the military museum, only to find, that it is closed on fridays and mondays. Great. Fortunately (Glücklicherweise) we were able to have a walk around the area outside the museum, where you can find a display of old fighter jets, tanks (Panzer) and other military machinery. I think Porko and Tom found more interest (mehr Gefallen finden) in them then I did!

Our next destination was Hoa Lo Prison. Built in the late 1880s, Hoa Lo Prison was originally used by French colonists in Vietnam for political prisoners (politische Gefangene). Later it was used for capturing (gefangen halten) U.S. prisoners of the Vietnam War. It was during this time, that the prison was sarcastically (sarkastisch) called the “Hanoi Hilton”.
The prison guides you through several rooms that display (zeigen) mainly what the prison looked like during the French colonial period. It included the guillotine room and the quarters (Quartier) for male and female Vietnamese political prisoners. The last part of the exhibition is dedicated to the time when U.S. prisoners were captured (gefangen halten) during the war. Just as much as the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh was very one sided (einseitig), this was no different. Two rooms painted a picture of the Vietnamese treating (behandeln) the prisoners as friends, as guests staying in a hotel (hence (somit/daher) the name Hanoi Hilton). You can see an array (Ausstellung) of pictures showing the prisoners playing football, chess (Schach), gardening and receiving (erhalten) a feast of a meal (Festmahl). It looked like they had a hell of a time (Sieht so aus, als hätten sie eine großartige Zeit gehabt)! Must have been great to be imprisoned (verhaften/einsperren) there! Despite (Trotz) the slightly questionable (leicht fraglich) image that was painted, Hoa Lo Prison was very interesting, as well as educational (belehrend/aufklärerisch). U.S. Senator, John McCain was kept in Hoa Lo Prison, for five and a half years. Wikipedia will tell you some more facts (Fakten) about how the prisoners were really treated (behandeln).

Next, we headed to Dong Xuan Market, a local market, where you can buy anything from plastic kitchenware and kids toys to live animals! As we weren’t too interested in buying a chicken, we soon moved on (weiterziehen) towards the Long Bien Bridge.

Long Bien Bridge was heavily bombarded (bombardiert) during Vietnam War, as it was the only bridge, that connected (verbinden) Hanoi to the main port of Haiphong. Parts of the bridge are still in their original state, whilst most of the bridge had to be rebuilt (wiederaufbauen) after the war.

In the evening we headed out to introduce (bekanntmachen) Porko to the speciality (Spezialität) named Bia Hoi. Our desired destination was the Bia Hoi Corner, a street corner in the middle of the old quarter that gets closed down in the evening and turns into a big seating area. After having enjoyed a few cold (and very cheap) beers we headed home as we would depart early in the morning for an island located in the Lan Ha Bay area named Cat Ba.