Ready, set, go

Final packing was done within a few hours just the day before departure. Most of the time consuming travel preparation tasks such as getting vaccinatioOff we gons, raising credit cards limits, buying staple medicine and other travel neccessities were completed well in advance. Contrary to our initial idea that it must be difficult to pack for 6months, we realized in the course of packing that actually packing for half a year trip isn’t more challenging than packing for any other vacation. So in the end even YinRu managed to keep her luggage weight below 15kg after being told “for every additional t-shirt you pack you can buy one less on the trip”. A big backpack plus a small day-pack for each one of us and off we went…

For our round-the-world-ticket we had to decide between OneWorld or Star Alliance. Though the latter alliance with airline members such as Swiss, Singapore or Thai International Airways would have offered us better comfort on outbound flights from Switzerland, we decided to stick to OneWorld (mainly due to its strong presence in the pacific sector with Qantas, Fiji and Amercian Airlines). Therefore our trip started with a more tiring route to Hanoi via Doha and Bangkok with Qatar Airways. Though this route was not the most direct one, we got the chance to experience one of the yet rare opportunities to fly with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Roman was fascinated by the window-darkening feature, but that is probably the only special thing on this plane we could experience from a pure passengers’ perspective (of course he wouldn’t agree)…

After two stop-overs we were welcomed by mysterious Hanoi with a completely foggy, grey atmosphere, poor visibility and a temperature around 15 degrees (which is actually quite ok bearing in mind that we left home with around 10cm of snow the day before). After getting a first impression of vietnamese efficiency (spent around 45mins at customs and had a lost pick-up driver who waited for us at the wrong arrival hall) we finally got into Hanoi. The 45mins drive from the airport to the city was stunning on its own. Endless, nearly deserted eight-lane highways with occasional cyclists, farmers tilling their fields manually in the misty weather made us wonder wheter we arrived in North Korea (though we have never been there) or Vietnam.resized_IMG_0692

Entering the city the traffic has gotten busier, the streets narrower and everything lively and crowded. The rest of the first evening passed by fast. A very warm, maybe a bit too hospitable, welcome at the hotel, a good dinner at a street food stall with a local beer followed by a second dinner (ok, we are too eager about food here – let’s call it supper to sound less repetitive) and a good hot shower completed our first day of the trip. Excited to discover this pearl of Indochina in the next two weeks+!

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