Temple of Literature...Heading to Cambodia today...


Entrance to the Temple of Literature.
At 12:30 pm today we'll be checking out of the stellar five star Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi and heading to the Noi Bai International airport by bus. We have an included flight through Viking cruises to Cambodia, the next leg of our land and Mekong River journey.


Beautiful manicure grounds at the temple.
Although we don't particularly care for bus or group tours, this 54 passenger manifest feels small and intimate. Already, we've come to know a few other passengers and look forward to many more pleasant conversations and shared activities. 

Apparently, the Temple of Literature is busy most days.
Viking Cruise Line's reputation for excellence is evident in all the activities thus far with the utmost of class and organization.  Nothing is spared in providing each passenger with care and diligent attention to detail.


The Chinese language and the French influence attributed to the Vietnamese language.
Our tour guide, Kong, took a photo on his phone of the food list on my phone.  As a result, last night's dinner at the upscale Nineteen11 Restaurant located in the Hanoi Opera House was prepared to perfection with Kong's assistance in working with the restaurant staff.  That's the type of service we're receiving on this adventure.  Over the top.


A body of water on the grounds of the temple.
They specially made pumpkin soup for me which was quite a treat. The Australian filet mignon was cooked to perfection with a side of butter sautéed bok choy with garlic, a fabulous side I'd never considered. 

The Temple of Literature was built in 1070.
Tom enjoyed his soup, salad, bread and similar steak with mashed potatoes and vegetable coulis as well as a beautifully prepared Vietnamese dessert.   

There were many areas of the temple to investigate.
I'm in a bit of a quandary posting all these tours.  We have more photos than space or time to share of these experiences in Hanoi.  Since we'll in Cambodia by dinner tonight and don't want to miss sharing some of the integral experiences we've had in Hanoi, we'll continue with Hanoi stories over the next few days and "catch up" as we move along in Cambodia. 

The crowds gathered on their path to the main part of the temple.

Animal lawn sculpture at the temple.

In the event we aren't able to catch up with so many tours ahead, we may decide to save some of the photos to share after the cruise ends while we're living in Phuket for six weeks at a considerably slower pace.  This whirlwind trip makes the appeal of Phuket's easy lifestyle all the more appealing.


The historic architecture if beautiful not unlike Hindu temples we visited in Bali.  Although Vietnam is a communist country, people are free to choose their religious beliefs as long as they don't interfere politically.
How did I weather yesterday's full day of touring?  It was a challenge walking the long distances while navigating lots of stairs and uneven walkways. 


There's no way this photo indicates how hot we were.
Add the scorching sun, heat and humidity and there were moments I wondered if I could continue on.  Tom, of course, walked slowly and gingerly alerting me to every step change and holding my hand even as both of our hands were dripping with sweat. 


Gargoyle.
My desire to see everything and to take photos kept me motivated enough to keep going.  The tour provided us with unlimited supplies of chilled bottled water which we guzzled continuously.  Each time we neared a patch of shade, Kong alerted us to take cover.  We weren't the only ones sweating profusely. 


Inside the temple.
Since most of the passengers are as old or older than us, they too suffered along with us.  Cambodia is supposedly much hotter and more humid.  Today, I feel a little better as I continue to heal and hope by the most challenging of the upcoming tours, Ankor Wat, that I'll be able to participate.


Statue of Confucius.
Hanoi's temperature yesterday was 98F, 37C with 80% humidity.  I can't imagine Cambodia would be a whole lot worse.  When we struggled through the heat (and my continuing pain) many times we discussed what the soldiers went through in this horrid weather during the war. 

Most revered statue of Confucius in the temple.
On several occasions, those sad thoughts made me give myself a mental slap to tough it out.


Touching the breast of this bird statue with the right hand and the touching the head of the turtle below with one's left hand is considered "yin and yang" allowing good fortune to flow through the participant.  Tom was able to do this but I did so with caution, unable to easily bend down.
Today's photos are from yesterday's visit to the Temple of Literature. Future photos will continue of the Hanoi Hilton, (the prison), the Ho Chi Minh Memorial and the city tour we took this morning in small motorized vehicles through streets in the Old Quarter, inaccessible by cars or buses.  It was quite an adventure in itself.


A religious service was being conducted while we visited.
Since we're leaving soon, I'll only have time to post photos and will do as many captions as time allows.  Back at you soon from Cambodia! 

There was a lily pond on the grounds.

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Photo from one year ago today, July 10, 2015:

The boat launch at Holloways Beach leading to a river that heads to the sea.  It is this type of location where people are attacked by crocs which are commonly found on beached in Australia.  For more details please click here.

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