Hanoi Hilton

One week ago I walked through the old quarter of Hanoi until I reached Hoàn Kiem lake. After resting and people watching I continued my walk to the Hanoi Hilton. The former prison is now a museum mainly explaining the French colonisation years and all the very bad conditions under which the prisoners had to live. Also the several escape attempts were documented, some of them were successful, some of them not. The Vietnam War period is only briefly discussed. And from my point of view, only from one side. It seems still to be hard as victor to admit to their own war crimes. You still get some new information, but it’s nothing special at all.

Afterwards I headed to St. Joseph’s cathedral. A pretty large building in the middle of the old quarter of Hanoi. On my way back I walked along the main railway tracks which lead eventually to the northern border to China, but here in the city they pass just very close between two house rows.

I like the atmosphere here in Hanoi much more than in any other city of China. People are much more friendly. Even if they try to sell you something, you don’t have the feeling it’s too pushy than maybe in China. The food is also quit different, but for me it’s more tasty than in China. The only drawback is, that here are lots of white people compared to China. Most of them are young and for me it seems, they mostly look for cheap alcohol, party, and probably something more. I was absolutely surprised to see so much of them. I didn’t expected that.

The streets of Hanoi are quit buzzing…
…but compared to China much smaller, and hence especially around the old quarter, a much nicer feeling.
One of the islands in Hoàn Kiem lake
Some old buildings from the French era makes the city much more charming than the new concrete counterparts in China, where everything is just one…BIG
Main entrance to Hanoi Hilton. The original French construction dates back to the end of the 19th century.
Now I’m behind the walls
The prisoners where handled typically like this, as long as the rooms where not overcrowded. Which was quit common in the period after WWII
In the roots of this almond tree, messages were hidden
The iron rods were sew, during a successful escape from the latrine
The death-row
French made guillotine
Old style houses in the old quarter
St. Joseph’s cathedral
Main railway leading to the north, I already rode here two days before in the early morning…
…in between these houses

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