Trespassing, Purpleness and A Bit More Walking

Trip Start Oct 02, 2012
Trip End Mar 31, 2014

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, December 1, 2012

It may have been a struggle trying to get a room at our new hotel (Friendly Hotel) but it was worth it just for the buffet breakfast. The eggs are cooked to order and arrive light, fluffy and very tasty. They have a vast buffet including deep fried banana (our absolute favourite) and tons of other tasty stuff. We eat like pigs and wash it all down with two helpings of Vietnamese coffee, which is delicious and sweetened with condensed milk.

A full stone heavier, we pack a day bag (mainly filled with strepsils and paracetamol for Anna) and head out into the sun for our adventure in Hue. Today we are going to head across the Perfume River to the walled Citadel (or Imperial Palace) and the Forbidden Purple City.
Politely turning down yells of 'Oi! You! Bike?'  (a common catchphrase in Vietnam) we finally make it over the narrower bridge and head towards the outer walls of the Citadel. We enter through one of the arch gates and are surprised by how green and spaced out it is. The Citadel feels vast and park-like. The Forbidden Purple City is like a walled city, within a walled city, and lies to the north a little way. We stroll around the Citadel, making our way slowly to the Purple City.

On our way we pass by a museum of war remnants and seeing the gate open, we go in. We notice it is very quiet. Empty in fact. We continue looking around the war planes parked on the grass and then start to approach the main building when a screaming banshee of a woman comes hurtling out of the building shouting Vietnamese at us. Oops. It seems the museum is closed for lunch and we are trespassing. Glad that none of the war weaponry is functional, we make a hasty exit and continue to walk. But not before ensuring the gate that we had wandered through is tightly shut to stop other innocent travellers blundering through!

We reach the moat surrounding the Forbidden Purple City, buy tickets, and head on in. Even though much has been destroyed, it is still easy to imagine how incredible this place would've looked before the destruction of time and war. The buildings are beautiful and well proportioned within the landscape and the whole place has a certain air of royalty. There are many palaces to explore and avenues to follow. We wander around this lovely place for most of the day before heading back to the hotel thoroughly exhausted and with aching feet. The Citadel is a magical place, filled with history and romance. It's also a ruin though, filled with war and death. The broken buildings and bullet holes testify to that.

It has been a well spent day in Hue.
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