Searching for the Forbidden City
Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
87Trip End May 19, 2010
At 8am, we finally arrived. We were welcomed by a guy from our planned hotel and his motorbike (terror)... did he not know we had massive backpacks? Apparently so, as he and his mate skillfully placed the big bags on the front of the bike while we carried the smaller bags, and we were off! Luckily, Hue’s roads were nothing like Hanoi, with much less traffic and wider streets. Plus, on the upside, in Vietnam the general speed of travel is much slower so we felt quite safe!
Welcomed at the hostel with cold Vietnamese tea while our bags were whizzed up to our room, we indulged in some banana pancakes for breakie, yummy! Hue was the old capital of Vietnam until 1945 and has a huge number of tombs and pagodas, as well as a huge centre called 'the Citadel’, with a ‘Forbidden City’ inside. We only had a day here, so opted to see the tomb of the famed "fussy eater" Emperor Tu Doc, who demanded to have 50 different dishes prepared by 50 different people for each meal, every day. He would also only drink his tea if it was made from the water that had collected as due on the leaves from the night before... brilliant! Our hotel sent their drivers & motorbikes to take us there and wait for us while we looked round (not trusting ourselves to drive...). The tombs in Hue are not just tombs, but huge complexes with beautiful grounds, and with temples as well as the actual tomb. This particular one had a huge stone, with self written inscriptions of his epitaph on it. Normally a son would write this but even with over a hundred wives and concubines he bore no children.
Returning to town on the bikes & relieved to have the breeze on our faces in the 40 degree heat, we ventured into the Citadel, stopping for some lunch at a restaurant run by a deaf proprietor
After a lazy afternoon spent cooling ourselves down and with no rickshaws in sight, we found a street just to the side of our hotel that was full of lovely little restaurants for dinner. We were not disappointed; we ate in a lovely French/Vietnamese fusion place, all inside $3 each again! So, in just one day, we felt we had seen an example of all the main sights in Hue. Obviously there are many, many more tombs, temples and pagodas to see, but with our ever-limited scheduled time, we were very happy with our days work!