Ann Wheaton Our hotel was French, but a modern sky scraper structure. This had its advantages, as the view from our 16th storey window was spectacular, looking down on to a causeway which separated the grand West Lake (a circumference of ten miles making it the biggest) and Truc Bach Lake. The Tran Quoc Pagoda, a Buddhist temple, is clearly visible standing on a small island at the edge of West Lake. This Temple was originally constructed in the sixth century and is the oldest in the city; it was moved from its original location on the Red River four hundred years ago. The lakes were to take on different personas even during just a three day visit. From serene and bright on our first day to shrouded in mist and cloud on the second day. Our third day was the most dramatic as an electrical storm balanced over the water throwing rapiers of light onto the darkened surface. A visit to the Old Quarter is a prerequisite to any other activities. Situated adjacent to Hoan Kiem Lake the narrow alleyways and streets, still named, in many instances, after the artisan or merchants who lived and worked in them, are…
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