An Unusual Birthday Surprise When Traveling to Vietnam

We often travel around the times of our birthdays, mostly just because of the time of year that they occur. At this point in our lives, we don’t tend to make a fuss over our birthdays and certainly don’t tell people when we’re traveling if it happens to be one of our birthdays. This made what happened during our trip to Hanoi even more surprising. We had a very full itinerary while we were in Vietnam with every day full of long tours and it was always a joy to return to our hotel in the old town area of Hanoi.

Bringing Us a Whole Birthday Cake
Specialty Drinks with Dinner
Amazing Views of the Ninh Binh Province

On this particular day, we had gotten up early and gone to the Ninh Binh province where we saw many amazing sights. It was relatively late when we returned to the hotel and we were looking forward to going out and getting a bite to eat. As we entered the hotel, the staff at the desk asked us to take a seat in the lobby as they had some information for us. This did not surprise us as they were extremely helpful, friendly, and had provided us lots of useful information about places to go in the neighborhood.

Birthday Cake
Fruit Platter and Fresh Juice
Bed Decorated for the Birthday

What was surprising was when the staff returned with an entire birthday cake and singing “Happy Birthday” to us. Since we had never mentioned the birthday to the hotel, we made the assumption that they must have gotten it from our passports. The staff told us that they were honored that we chose to share such a special occasion with them. In addition to the cake, they also gave us a tray of fresh fruit and fresh fruit juice. Then we went up to our room to change for dinner and discovered a hearts made from towels and flower petals on the bed. To say that the staff of the Antique Legend Hotel were wonderful would be an extreme understatement.

Filet for the Birthday Dinner
Hoan Kiem Lake

Celebrating Key Milestones Through Travel

We have always enjoyed linking travel to key milestones in our lives. By celebrating a significant event in a special location not only enhances the memory of it, but also makes recalling that memory easier. One of the most common milestones that we usually celebrate during a trip is our wedding anniversary. We were supposed to be in Turkey this week, which was on anniversary, but obviously that didn’t happen. Our last two major milestones were celebrated completely differently. We celebrated our 20th anniversary by visiting Walt Disney World, which was certainly a wonderful trip, especially since it was just the two of us. Five years ago was our 25th anniversary and we decided to go to Aspen, Colorado for a long weekend. Two years ago, we spent it in Egypt and last year we visited Hungary. We will likely celebrate our anniversary later this year once we’re able to travel once again. Do you like to travel on birthdays and anniversaries or do you prefer to celebrate them at home?

Celebrating Our Anniversary with Disney Characters

Aspen, Colorado

Standing Outside of the Bent Pyramid in Egypt

Enjoying the Views in Budapest


The Denver Oktoberfest

It is the 50th anniversary of the Denver Oktoberfest and we decided to go to the opening weekend of this popular event. The Oktoberfest festival takes place over two weekends and draws very large crowds enjoying German beer, food, and folk music. Many of the people who attend Oktoberfest dress in traditional German clothing making it even more festive. In addition to the beer and food, there are also a variety of games available to play, such as keg bowling.

People Getting into the Spirit of Oktoberfest

Bratwurst and Latkes

Listening to Folk Musi

Keg Bowling

There are several types of tickets that you can purchase at the event or in advance, but we’d definitely recommend purchasing tickets in advance as the lines can be quite long. Other than for crafts and merchandise, you must have tickets to get beer, food, and play certain games as cash is not accepted. We chose a ticket option that included a 34 oz souvenir mug with a couple of refills. We had both a hefeweisen and darker Oktoberfest from Spaten. It is definitely important to pace yourself in order not to overdrink and turn a good time into a bad time.

Crowds at the Stein Hoisting Contest

Apple Strudel

Traditional Clothing and Beer Steins

Stein Hoisting

Obviously there is plenty of German food available including different types of bratwurst, currywurst, schnitzle, pretzels, latkes, and apple strudel. We had bratwurst with sauerkraut accompanied with potato pancakes, called latkes, one with sour cream and the other with apple sauce. Later we got a chicken, paprika schnitzel with spätzle as well as apple strudel. With drinking 68 ounces of beer, eating food was an absolute must. The food was really good and definitely reminded us of our time living in Germany.

Bratwurst on the Grill

Getting Our Stein Filled

Crowds Gathering

Paprika Chicken

One of the most popular games was the stein hoisting contest, where people attempt to hold two steins straight out for as long as possible. It was certainly popular for people to watch as well as to participate and having done it in the past, we know that it is extremely difficult. Keg bowling was another popular game with lots of people cheering on those who attempted to knock over kegs with another keg on wheels.

Pretzels to Feed a Crowd

Souvenir Steins

Giant Bobblehead

Beer Hall Tent

Different musicians play throughout the day, all of them playing festive German folk music. People dance and sing along with the various bands that play, obviously participating more and more as the beer continued to flow. In addition to the people dressing up in traditional clothing, there were also plenty of dogs dressed up as well. Going to the Denver Oktoberfest is certainly a fun experience that we would highly recommend. We had a wonderful time enjoying everything that the festival had to offer.

Busier as the Day Went Along

Crashing Kegs