We had only one day in Hanoi, and we ran all over that city like mad women. We spent the most time at the Temple of Literature, dedicated to Confucius and scholars. It is the site of the Imperial Academy, the first national university in Vietnam. The temple was built in 1070.
We then visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum, where Ho Chi Minh is interred. He is thought of as the country’s greatest ruler.
We also traipsed around the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.
I typically get the creeps when visiting prisons, and for good reason. But for the sake of a history lesson, I’ll do it. Hoa Lo Prison was originally used by the French colonists for political prisoners. It was later used for prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. Many American POWs referred to it as the “Hanoi Hilton.”
In the afternoon, we strolled around Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Fresh produce, flowers, and animals line the streets as markets dot every corner. That night we frequented a water puppet theater for a dose of traditional entertainment dating back to the 11th century.