A tourist is not the same as a traveler. We’re travelers, but we see tourists often. We watched swarms of tourists who tumbled out of tour buses at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi. They followed guides who flitted here and there. “See this.” “See this.” They kept the tourists to a tight schedule before they departed for the next stop of the day. They saw a lot, but we found more to be seen at this historic site by taking our time at the Temple of Literature.
We couldn’t restrain ourselves from clicking our camera shutters, as one photo opportunity after another presented itself. Finally, we took a break. Hunkering down on a low wall in the shade, we saw yet another photo op. We watched as a graduating class gathered in a courtyard for a formal portrait. The photographer gave them instructions, and, we clicked our camera shutters again, when they jumped in the air in a wave of laughter.
The Temple of Literature honored Confucius and was a center of learning dating back to 1070 CE. Students studied up to seven years, and the King himself quizzed the students for their final exam. The entry gate opened to a garden courtyard, the first of five large courtyards. We finally worked our way back to the Imperial Academy.
After the Temple of Literature satisfied our appetites for photos, we headed across the street to KOTO, a well-known restaurant in Hanoi, to satisfy our appetites for food. KOTO stands for “Know One, Teach One”. KOTO trains mostly street and disadvantaged youth who now work in the restaurant. We sat back and relaxed, happy to dine at KOTO, and pleased with our enjoyable visit to the Temple.