Upon departing the night train at Hue into what was a welcome 28c we made what can only be described as a schoolboy error. We were lazy and did very little. I wasn’t feeling too good after the train ride so after arriving at our hotel (which is pretty good) we strolled into town and had a pizza. We then returned to our hotel to make plans for the next full day and to get an early night.
The gale force winds and torrential rain that commenced at some point during the night is in fact what Hue considers to be more normal at this time of year. 28c was a freak occurrence it transpires. So the first half of our whole day was spent in the hotel room watching the flash floods and flying debris..
When we eventually ventured out at noon the wind had died down but the rain was still relentless. Our plan was to grab lunch and then explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the Citadel of Hue.
Lunch was at Omar Khayam’s Indian Restaurant and was very good. Some of the best onion bhajis we have ever had in fact. After eating we pressed on across the Perfume River to the Citadel and entered through the Ngo Mon Gate.
Hue was the capital of Vietnam until 1945 when the Emperor handed rule to the communists in the wake of the Second World War. The Citadel itself had been built over a lengthy period of time and even included some later buildings with clear French influence. However the communists saw the Nguyen Dynasty as enemies of the communist government and thus the Citadel was neglected. This neglect combined with a plethora of American bombs during the Vietnam War destroyed much of it.
However what remains is extremely impressive and work is ongoing to reinstate what buildings remain.
The Citadel was the private residence of the ruling family, so much of it was for relaxation and education. There are many ponds and lawns and though they are still in a state of neglect they are nevertheless impressive…even in a downpour!
As the light was fading we decided the Citadel was not a good place to get lost after dark and headed back across the river to town. We decided to grab a drink and a bite to eat at a backpacker style restaurant that we stumbled across the night before. We grabbed a spot on their raised “sit on the floor” area to eat…
…and show the locals and backpackers how Jenga is played! (A disputed victory for Claire)
Hoi An is our next destination and we catch what is said to be a stunning train ride in the morning.Oma