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Long Bien Bridge and Surroundings

Early this morning I began walking in the direction of the Long Bien Bridge. I’m staying on the west edge of the Old Quarter of Hanoi, and the bridge, which spans the Red River, is on the north-east edge. It’s more or less a half hour walk; however I planned to find a place for breakfast along the way.

I found a promising banh my place and stopped in for a sandwich, with pate, mixed meats ans veggies. The baguette at this place was particularly good and very fresh.

A little further down the road, I came upon Dong Xuan Market, which I will explore on another day.

At the foot of the bridge is the Long Bien train station.

The Long Bien Bridge is a turn of the (20th) century engineering marvel which withstood considerable bombing during the American war. I read on the Rusty Compass blog that there were plans to demolish the bridge in 2014, which were abandoned after an outcry from Hanoians.

As I began crossing the bridge I was treated to a great view of the longest mosaic wall in the world. The wall, which runs for 6.5 km, was completed in 2010 to celebrate the 1000th birthday of this town. Two years ago, Sheila and I walked a considerable portion of this amazing work of art.

I was fortunate to have a train come through while I was crossing. Cars are not allowed on the bridge, just pedestrians, motorbikes and trains.

The walkway consists of concrete slabs fit between steel rails.You can see below between the slabs, some of which have seen better days. I could not help but imagining one of these crumbling as I walked over it and so I tried to stay close to the roadway, with much of my weight supported by the rail underneath. The bridge is 1.7 km across, and some parts of it are in better repair than other parts.

It’s possible to descend to an area under the bridge, some of which appears to be farmed.

I noticed as I neared the centre of the bridge, vibrations from the motorbikes became more pronounced.

I’m told the views from this historic bridge are especially great on days with a fabulous sunrise or sunset. While the forecast called for a clear day, I haven’t seen more than a few minutes of sun since I arrived.

Atfer returning to the old quarter, I sought out additional views of the mosaic wall.

I cooled down and relaxed at a cafe with an iced coffee, then zig-zagged my way back to the lake and across to my hotel.

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