Archive for September, 2012

Thanks for posting about our temple of literature Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam

On the Go with Lynne

Temple of Literature

 I am not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one who is fond of antiquity, and earnest in seeking it there. ~ Confucius

The Temple of Literature is home to two very important institutions, the shrine to Confucius as well as the site of the first university. The cluster of well preserved buildings is considered to be an example of traditional Vietnamese architecture.

When passing through the main tiered gateway, one can’t help but notice the inscribed plaque reminding visitors to dismount their horses before entering. Of course, we oblige.

The temple grounds consist of five courtyards walled in, creating a pleasant green space with gardens and walled ponds which help diffuse the noise from Hanoi’s busy street life.

Vietnam’s first university, the “Imperial Academy” (Quoc Tu Giam), was established in 1076. Initially, it was created for just the noble mandarins, but later, in 1442…

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Hello Saigon!

On September 30, Vietnam will celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival or Tết Trung Thu.  Lanterns, dragon dances and delicacies are signs of this festival.  Weeks leading to this lunar harvest festival, makeshift stores suddenly pops up at every street corner selling boxes and boxes of mooncake or bánh trung thu — so many actually that you wonder they’ll sell ’em all at all.

Mooncake is a traditional delicacy offered to family and friends during the festival. Nowadays, even businesses present this to clients which have led to bakeries creating high-end, expensive mooncakes — and I mean REALLY expensive.

Shape and Size

Rectangular and round mooncakes are readily available in the market but more of the round ones appear in Vietnam.  Sizes vary but the usual are found to be about 10 cm in diameter and 4 cm thick.


The thin crust is golden brown in color with a glossy…

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On the Go with Lynne

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”   ~ Mother Teresa

Dining with Purpose

While in Hanoi, one of our dining experiences was eating lunch at KOTO .

KOTO stands for “Know One, Teach One.”

We chose this restaurant months before we arrived in Vietnam. Why?

Lonely Planet recommended it and everything we read was convincing us to eat there.

We believe as travelers we should support educational and cultural programs…to give back however and whenever we can.

KOTO is unique because of how it got started and its purpose.

Jimmy Pham, of Korean/Vietnamese origin who lived in Australia, returned to Vietnam in the mid 90’s and was disturbed by the number of street kids he encountered. No hygiene. No job. No hope. The kids told him they needed jobs. With his family’s support, he opened a small sandwich shop and…

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On the Go with Lynne

“In food as in death, we feel the essential brotherhood of man.”
~Vietnamese Proverb

Hanoi Street Life-3

I have an affinity for Hanoi…

Especially the Old Quarter.

It becomes clear to the visitor…

Life on the streets is all about the food.

Some must grow it.
While other’s hawk it.
Some must cook it.
While other’s eat it.

Women sit on low stools in front of their shops and sort and cut beans and vegetables. Using a crochet type hook for stripping the long beans, this Asian pod looked exactly like what was in my stir fry the previous evening. Pride is taken in the arrangement of produce in the baskets.

Hanoi Street Life-3

Perhaps everyone is competing for the “Lovely Produce Award?”

Hanoi Street LifeAs I stopped to get out of the way of a woman shouldering her bamboo carrying pole, which balanced two baskets of produce, she instantly transferred it from her shoulder to mine. I…

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