As might be expected, most of the morning was spent packing. Sam worked her magical packing skills to fit all our latest purchases into our bags, which I’d believed to be already full! Our taxi to the airport was at 3pm; we asked for a late checkout, skipped breakfast and set about town one last time.
We used the Lonely Planet’s coffee suggestions to find a hidden coffee shop, Cafe Pho Co. Along ‘linen street’, through a linen shop, out the back into a courtyard, it felt like we were intruding on someone’s home; it probably was someone’s home, but we certainly weren’t intruding. A four storey apartment, certain parts were dedicated to the cafe. Just as we looked lost a girl approached us with a menu, we ordered and she motioned for us to go up the stairs. Two flights of stairs, and a metal spiral staircase later, we were sitting on traditional blue plastic seats with views out across Hoam Kiem lake. Sam bravely ordered an egg white coffee, which was interesting, but not my cup of tea. Pun intended.
We were still on the lookout for the duvet cover we’d seen on our boat, and linen street seemed like a good place to look. We left many a shopkeeper believing they were about to make a sale, but nothing was quite right.
Still hungry for food, we stopped at our favourite Joma for a drink and snack. I devoured a tuna melt and tried the interesting ‘London fog’ tea, earl grey with vanilla. Alas, Sam didn’t want to rest and do nothing. We had more things to buy!
Shopping once more, we found chopsticks and a box, another table runner, and some quite excellent Vietnamese propaganda posters, “Vietnam — the hidden charm” one proclaims. Our final stop was Huong Mai, a coffee store with twenty varieties of coffee bean in plastic tubs, like a children’s sweet shop. Over the course of an hour we tried four different beans and left with bags of Culi, Moka and Kopi Lumak (Weasel coffee).
At the hotel we packed our new purchases, with Mary Poppins like abilities, donned our walking boots for the flight and took the 3pm taxi to Hanoi airport. Goodbye crazy motorcyclists, crazy roads, frenetic Hanoi, charming Vietnam; you’ve been phenomenal.