Condiments and history in Hue

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
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Trip End Feb 01, 2012


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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Monday, March 7, 2011

We took an overnight train to Vietnam’s old capital Hue and en route were reminded of one of the benefits of train travel, random meetings with other travellers that turn into meaningful connections. We were sharing a cabin with a lovely retired Greek couple who were taking a holiday from their holiday home in Thailand before returning back to Greece. We had a great time on the train finding out what it was like to live in Thailand. 


 


 
 We got on so well that we spent the next couple of days together, exploring the major sites of Hue. We took a boat trip down the perfume river to the Dong Kanh tomb. The journey was great but the real highlight was the emperor’s tomb. We were expecting a small room with an ornate tomb inside. Instead we found big grounds with huge ancient temples, intricate carvings and gorgeous wooded areas. 




 




 
  





 


 






 

 To get there we had to take a motorbike taxi from our boat for a couple of kilometres. When we got back to our boat the drivers asked us for more money, as tips for good driving. Whilst we were arguing with them this group of women descended on us like vultures shouting, ‘you buy from me, you buy from me’ as they displayed their wares. Other women were miming drinking from a can shouting, ‘you buy for driver’. It was a right circus and clearly not one that endeared us to the sellers or encouraged us to shell out any of our money. If you ever visit this part of the world be warned and ready with a firm ‘No thanks!’.
  
That night we decided to visit a vegetarian restaurant that was highly recommended on Tripadvisor. The food was so delicious and creative. My favourite dish was sliced mushrooms cooked in a spicy sauce with roasted sesame seeds scattered on top. Divine! What was less divine though was this white paste they gave us to use as flavouring for our hot pot. Being the adventurous one of the group I decided that even though this horrible thing smelt awful it might be worth adding to my soup for flavour. It was not. At this point I should have put my bowl to the side and left it at that, but instead I forced this soup down thinking it might be an acquired taste. Bad move! If something looks rank and smells rank, DON’T EAT IT! I got terrible food poisoning and spent a horrible night paying the price for my adventurous eating. We ended up having to spend another day in Hue until I recovered, with me feeling extremely sorry for myself. 


 
When Karen recovered from her adventures with repulsive condiments we decided to visit the old citadel. We took a cyclo there which is a bike with a seat attached to the front. They have them all over Vietnam but Hue seemed the safest place to take one. (There was no chance of getting us in one in Hanoi!). The citadel was really beautiful. More impressive then the Forbidden City in Beijing. Unfortunately, it was bombed quite a lot during the Vietnam war and a lot of it is now in ruins. In fact if you have ever seen Stanley Kubrick's "Full metal jacket" you have seen the story of the citadel in hue as that was what it was based on. Although most of the film was shot in Thamesmead in South East London as Kubrick hated to fly. Not a great advertisement for Thamesmead! Sorry, I went into film nerd mode there! 


 








 






 
So we were really glad that we stopped off in Hue (apart from the condiment exploits) as it had a lot to see. I would say two days is sufficient to cover the place. The other interesting fact about the place is that it was the biggest town close to the old North / South Vietnam border. It was on the southern side and you can take tours to the old border line. I am glad that the country is now unified. I wonder if Korea will ever be as one? 

Our next stop is Hoi An, a place that I have heard a lot about from Karen as she was there 3 years ago. I hope it lives up to the hype! 

See you in some old colonial building! 


Love as always, Paul & Karen
p.s. As you have probably guessed we are slightly behind on this blog lark. Hey, it's not our fault. Blame Ashley & Anna for showing us such a good time whilst they were in the Philippines!  

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Comments

Rosa Robins on

Once again!!!! WOWOW :)

Ethan on

Good choice with the train! Adam and I took the train along the whole coast and there were some truly lovely spots. We stopped in Hue too!

auntyp on

Fantastic!!!!!.......Keep safe xx

PEARL FOYLE on

GREAT PICTURES. HOPE YOUR BOTH WELL.

mom on

another good read and fab pictures xx

MARY TSITEROU on

HI THERE WELL SEING THE PHOTOES I THINK I AM BACI TO HUE WITH U IT WAS REALLY TERRIFIC WE WILL NEVER FORGET IT SPECIALLY BOTH OF U AND HOW U OFFERED THE LOWER BEDS IN THE TRAIN THANK AGAIN FANTASTIC JOB. WE ARE BACK TO GREECE I WILL NEVER FORGET THE FANTASTIC FOOD WE HAD IN THIS VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT.

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