Hue Overview

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End May 12, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  ,
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hue served as the capital of Viet Nam from 1802 – 1945 under the 13 emperors of the Nguyen dynasty and is deemed to be the Viet Nam city of culture and the religious and cultural centre. The original citadel city was built in 1687 with the present day citadel being named the citadel city after the expulsion of the Tay Son rebels in 1802 after their occupation since 1786. Nguyen Anh crowned himself emperor and thus formed the Nguyen dynasty (in name anyway as the French were really pulling the strings).

Hue is around 15km inland from the South China Sea and is bisected by the Perfume River (Huong Giang or Song Huong depending on your origin).   The citadel is 10 km around its perimeter and has walls over 2 metres thick, the purple city is within the main Citadel, a sort of Citadel within a Citadel and the 6 metre wall runs around its 2.5 km perimeter and like Beijing was reserved for the emperor.

Sights to see around the citadel are the flag tower; this has a 37 metre flag pole that can be seen from many locations in the citadel city and for me helped me not get too lost.  Useless information time; after the Tet offensive the Viet Cong had the National Liberation Front flag flying for just over 3 weeks.  The nine holy cannons, I laughed when I saw that description on them and thought of Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the 'holy hand grenade', use of religion in war and destruction is a bit of an oxymoron, but that is maybe just me.  Anyway these cannons are still 'guarding' the flag pole even although their payload is now old coke cans and water bottles stuffed up the barrels.  4 of the cannons represent the 4 seasons and the other 5 represent the 5 elements: metal, wood, water, fire and soil.

The journey up was mostly uneventful; avoiding being killed by the crazy driving.  I was sitting beside/around an Israelite called Boris; he was very pleasant and was travelling to Hanoi, so not stopping in Hue.  Also there was a couple (she is Scottish (Cara) and he is English/Italian (Anthony)). Exchanged mobile numbers and will possibly meet up for drinks over the next couple of days.  They are spending 11 months travelling the world, nice. It is amazing the number of people I’ve met who are on long trips.

I went out to the town for some food and to stretch my legs after 4 plus hours on the bus. I ended up in a little café and had some pork ribs with lemongrass; very nice.  The service was slow, but was in no hurry.  I got a text from Cara and Ant to say they were at the DMZ bar if I wanted to join them for a drink, but food service was slow and they were just leaving as I got clear.  We will meet up tomorrow night, which will be nice.

I got a taxi back to the hotel as I still did not have my bearings so did not want to get too lost. It was a whole dollar for it.
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