Got up at 7:30am and headed down to breakfast, which was French-inspired. I had pineapple, watermelon, dragonfruit, orange cordial, croissant with jam, a doughnut, a profiterole, a coffee cake, and a chocolate tart (all miniature). Afterwards K + I stowed our bags in E's room and checked out. We took a taxi to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology out in the suburbs. (As a side note, a taxi company I recommend is Vietnam Taxi, PH: 35-58-58-58. We never got ripped off by them but did by other companies). Entry was 25,000D. It was all about the 54 ethnic minorites of Vietnam, and all the displays had English headings too which was really good. In the grounds outside were examples of traditional village houses - a Tay stilt house, Bahnar communal structure and a Yao home.
They were all ginormous, especially the Bahnar one which was so far off the ground and so very tall! Actual members of each ethnic group built the houses. Outside there was also a Giarai tomb, complete with wooden statues in incredibly sexually explicit posses. We took a taxi back (80,000D) and then walked to our new hotel Hanoi Guesthouse on Bat Su St, which means china bowls street. They tried to get us to switch to another sister hostel on the other side of the lake (nicer but further from the Old Quarter) but we said no. We dumped our bags and they told us to come back at 4pm and our twin room would be ready. We decided to head to lunch at Ladybird Restaurant, as recommended by LP. The food was extremely reasonably priced and tasted reasonably good.
Rising Sun bridge
I had a pineapple juice and the sizzling beef with black pepper sauce, plus steamed rice. After lunch E and I decided to walk to Hoan Kiem Lake to see the Ngoc Son Temple. K had already been there the previous day so she went elsewhere. It cost 10,000D for the entry ticket. An elegant scarlet bridge, Huc Bridge (Rising Sun bridge), connects the island to the lakeshore. Surrounded by water and shaded by trees, the small temple is dedicated to General Tran Hung Dao, who defeated the Mongols in the 13th century, La To, the patron saint of physicians, and the scholar Van Xuong. Inside was a glass case containing a stuffed lake turtle, said to have weighed 250kg and captured in 1968. It didn't really look real, but that may have just been because of all the lacquer.
Ngoc Son temple
Next E and I just wandered around the lake until we came to Fanny's icecream, also recommended by LP. I had a delicious concoction, I forget what it was called, for 75,000D, of strawberry icecream, strawberry sorbet, raspberry sorbet, a wafer, and fresh fruit (melon, mango, dried cranberries, watermelon, dragonfuit). Delish! It really was heavenly. E almost went for seconds but restrained himself at the last minute. It was after 4pm by then so just walked back to the guesthouse and checked in. Our room on the 3rd floor was quite pleasant, with a balcony, good bathroom, and a king single and double bed. I got the double this time. At 7pm we met up with E for dinner. We had been planning to head to Havana Club, a Mexican place recommended in LP, but it was shut down so instead we headed to Thai Express on the lake. It was a bit of a rip off but the food was nice. I had a beef pad thai and a citrus (orange and pineapple) ice crush for 145,000D. K couldn't find anything she wanted on the extensive menu but eventually decided to order what I ordered. After dinner walked through the night market for a while, but it was mostly just crap. Bought some nice gift cards though. Headed to bed when I got back to the guesthouse.