We traveled on to Hanoi by air. A taxi arranged by our hotel picked us up and delivered us almost to our door. Our hotel was on a street that a car couldn't pass down (YES, we planned it that way...you know how sensitive we are to street noise!) We were one short block to St. Joseph Cathedral and many options for restaurants and not far to the Hoan Kiem Lake. We walked around it our first evening in town and they were setting up for the annual flower festival/competition. Look out Botanical Gardens! The street along the whole east side of the lake was closed off to traffic to accommodate these landscapers who had trucked in tons of materials to build these beautiful gardens. There were also lovely floral plantings all around the lake so it was a delightful walk.
The year 2010 is the 1,000th year anniversary of the city of Hanoi
Walking around the city is very interesting. There are still blocks and blocks of streets dedicated to individual professions. All the business are grouped together, e.g., silk, plumbing fixtures, metal tubing, clothing, musical instruments, herbal medicines, jewelry, religious offerings, etc. We think we maybe wound up in "Chinatown" (?) because it was reminding us of Chinese New Year. (Tet was still two months away)