To be honest, as much as I love living in Saigon, I'm sad we're not in Hanoi at the moment as I'm sure the build up to next week's celebration would be fantastic.
No better way to start off than with my memories of Hanoi's 999th birthday party!
I don't really like birthdays, and turning 35 years old didn't fill me with much excitement, but the fact that much of Hanoi literally shut down for an all day party on my birthday (despite it not being in my honour!) made it a day I'll remember for a long time to come.
On 10/10/2009, the People's Committee closed Hanoi's iconic Long Bien Bridge, normally reserved for motorbikes (and trains!), and opened it to the public for an all day festival.
|Hanoi's Long Bien Bridge|
Built in 1902 by French architect Gustave Eiffel (yes, the same Eiffel of the tower in Paris!), as the only access point at the time from northern Vietnam into Hanoi the bridge played a crucial part in the war against America.
Given its critical position in Hanoi, Long Bien was bombed a number of times between 1967 and 1972, rendering it completely unusable for periods at a time.
Today, only half of the bridge retains its original structure and due to its dilapidated state only motorbikes, trains and pedestrians are allowed.
For the city's 999th birthday the Long Bien Bridge Festival celebrated the structure that has held a prominent place in the hearts of the northern Vietnamese for more than a century.
Long Bien was turned into an art gallery for the celebration with many artworks hung along half of the bridge. Add to that the street entertainers, stalls and crowds of locals enjoying the chance to walk along the bridge without the traffic, and it was a great day out in Hanoi city.
|Georgia and Shell on Long Bien Bridge|
|Long Bien Bridge Festival|
|Artwork on Long Bien|
|Georgia, Shell, Lotta, Darrin, Mackenzie and Rob|
|Mackenzie and Georgia loved the bridge's playdough artists|
|Team Somerville on Long Bien Bridge|
|It's a long walk!|
|Happy birthday to moi! Shell and me on the Bridge|