If you are hoping to get off the well-trodden tourist track or looking to buy something a little more unique during your time in Hanoi, this is my insider’s guide of the ‘best shops to visit, and things to do’ during your stay. All of these options are ones that that I personally loved when I lived there and always suggested to visiting friends.
Hanoi is a bustling and vibrant city and there is a vast amount of options for everything – dining, shopping, touring – that it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start. Coupled with the fact that there is a number of less than desirable establishment that are looking to make a quick buck – usually at the tourist’s expense – it can be quite disheartening. The places on this list that I have curated are all reputable and offer quality products or services. Nearly all of which, have a strong focus on sustainability and offer fair wages to their staff and workers. This may mean they are more expensive than other options you will find in Hanoi, but you can be confident in not only the quality of your purchases, but also the positive impact of them.
On our last night in Lima we decided to leave the boys at home with the grandparents and enjoy a much needed adults only evening. We met up with C’s close friend Lucho who is the BEST person to go eating with. His knowledge of food is excellent, his enthusiasm is infectious and his appetite – endless.
He suggested that we go to Awicha which currently is one of his favourite spots in town. Located in an old colonial house in Barranco, Awicha has a homely yet sophisticated vibe to it. It is a small and intimate restaurant specialising in contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Apart from the warm and welcoming décor, the most striking feature of the restaurant is its central kitchen which dominates the dining room – jutting out, a bit like a Captain’s wheelhouse – and allows the chefs to be part of your dining experience.
We recently came back from a 2 week trip to Peru visiting ‘C’s family – it has been over 6 years since we were last in Peru and a lot has happened to our family since then! We moved to Vietnam, we had our second child Thomas, we have lived through a pandemic and we moved to Belgium! It was also 6 years ago I wrote my last blog entry – so I am sure this post is coming as a bit of surprise to my subscribers who probably thought that The Travelling Chopsticks had disappeared! Almost…but not quite!
Our trip to Peru was also the first time we have been back with our two small children (7 and 3), and it was a VERY different trip than our previous ones. Gone are the care free days of wandering around the bohemian neighbourhood of Barranco on a whim, late night dinners at one of the amazing restaurants that Lima has to offer, and even later night drinks with friends. We now have two little people we need to take into consideration when planning our days, and unfortunately for C and myself sitting for hours on end at restaurants is not something that they particularly enjoy!
When we first arrived in Brasilia almost four years ago, we felt that we had all the time in the world to explore this great country. In fact we thought we had too much time! Frankly, neither C nor I were all that thrilled to be posted to Brasilia – but that is another story for another day!
However, time is surely and steadily ticking by, and I am becoming acutely aware that our time here in Brazil is running out. All these trips and excursions that we have put off for one reason or the other are starting to pile up and the likelihood is, is that we won’t be able to do all of them.
So, one day just by chance I looked at my calendar and saw there was a long weekend coming up where C would actually be in town – I jumped at the chance to spend it at Chapadas dos Veadeiros National Park. I immediately got in touch with a few friends to see if they wanted to join – and as luck would have it, two couples had already planned to go and the third couple were keen to join as well. So within 20 minutes of sending out the initial email we had all booked and paid for our accommodation and we were set! I love it when the stars align like this!
Although I may not have been blogging frequently (if at all!) over the last year, that does not mean to say that I have not been travelling. In fact, C and I have managed to do a number of incredible trips squeezed in-between being pregnant, having the baby and C’s very hectic travel schedule.
The most memorable of these trips was our family Christmas vacation to Bonito and South Pantanal – a trip so incredible, that I thought it was best to share this story first!
One of my last posts that I wrote last year, was What to Expect when Expecting in Brasilia. Well, a year has gone by and I am very happy to announce that I am now a happy mum to a gorgeous little boy called Charles.
As you can imagine, The Travelling Chopsticks has not been high on my list of priorities of things to do over the last year. However, I feel that inspiration is slowly creeping back into me, and I thought I would try and breathe some life back into this much neglected but loved blog.
As you all know by now – ever since I met C, and he introduced me to the wonder that is Peruvian cuisine, I have been completely and utterly hooked. What came as a surprise to me when I first visited Peru in 2011 (read about my adventures HERE!) was not only how diverse the country is in terms of its population but also how this diversity is represented in their food, especially in and around Lima! Peruvian cuisine has fully embraced, adopted and modified the flavours from the Andes, the Spaniards, the Chinese, the Japanese, as well as Africa and the Middle East.
It has been far too long since I last posted something on The Travelling Chopsticks – and for this I apologise (bad blogger!). I could write a whole slew of reasons why I have not posted anything over the last few months – but that is not only boring for me to write, but more importantly, incredibly dull for you to read.
So instead – I am just going to jump head first into some exciting news that I wish to share with you all :)
C and I are expecting our first baby in April! Naturally we are both very excited about this development, but also – as I am sure every first time parents can relate to – we are slightly apprehensive as well (at least I am)!
A few weeks ago, my Peruvian and I along with another couple went on a fantastic trip to the Amazon. Well, to be more precise, a cruise on the Tapajos River up in the North of Brazil. And what an experience it was.
My, my, my it has been quiet around here lately – I do apologise.
I have come to the realisation that I am a terrible blogger, as I am just unable to multi-task! As soon as I have a lot on my plate, The Travelling Chopsticks get pushed to the curb side. All inspiration dries up, and I just focus on the tasks at hand.
What is that you may ask? Well – it is all quite exciting really.
Teaching: I have started to teach English privately, and currently have three students. As these are my first ‘real’ (AKA paying) students, a LOT of time has gone into researching lesson plans and finding suitable material.
World Cup: Even though I am not a big football fan, the World Cup has taken up a lot of time. In fact we have had seven (I repeat SEVEN) of C’s friends come to stay with us over the last 10 days, and as you can imagine, it has been hectic!
Buying Property: C and I have decided that we are finally grown up enough that we should buy something of our own. Our natural choice is the U.S. as one day if we are ever sent back to the Mother Ship, we will be in the D.C area. The logistics and research of buying property in a country you do not live in (and in my case never lived in) is quite a challenge!