Touch down in Hoi An after an internal flight from Saigon to Danang and restless to stretch my ageing Grey Traveller legs I walked into Hoi An old quarter via the river route.
The Grey Traveller was staying at the Essence Hotel on the outskirts of the town and my room overlooked the paddy fields. A road led down to the river directly opposite to the hotel entrance so that’s where I headed avoiding stray chickens and the odd mad moped. It was nice to be off the beaten track and not on the main road into town ‘cos that way I got to see the backyards and verandahs of the locals who giggled and waved at the lady trying to miss the puddles dressed in what looked like a coloured plastic bag….yes that was me with a hotel poncho.
Once on Nguyen Du we followed the river until I could cross a bridge called Song Hoai and I found myself in the sculpture park along with some sleeping locals, well why not grab a nap whilst you can. I admired their ease and confidence.
I was keen to see the old quarter so crossed An Hoi bridge which gives a great view of the old covered Japanese bridge and all the tourists squeezing their way over it and trying to outdo each other with selfies and snaps. But I resisted the temptation to join them and walked parallel to the river on Bach Dang Street past the dock and into the central market where locals jostled and shrilled their gossip whilst trying to attract tourists to buy . (You can get boat trips on the river but thats another blog post.
Rounding the market its easy to track back along Tran Phu Street which is awash with tiny shops and cafes and its here I had my first Vietnamese coffee….oh how refreshing that rich condensed milk, ice and espresso. Cyclos are everywhere and a great way to see this little town if walking isn’t for you or if the rain gets too heavy during the wet season. To be honest if the feet get weary pull you can pull over into one of the many massage shops for a refreshing foot massage with peppermint oil, it has to be done and at $5 dollars surely a daily treat!
With the light fast disappearing the town glistens with floating lanterns, any number of people are keen to sell you a floating cardboard box with a candle which then joins the hundreds of others on the river creating its own river of flicking light, quite a sight and one difficult to capture on camera, well at least it was for me!
It was in Hoi An that I tasted the best satay at The Sakura restaurant, a mustardy yellow building right on the river, with tables upstairs and views and service to blog home about
So tam biet from Hoi An, goodbye until the next post.
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