Trip Start Mar 31, 2010
Trip End Mar 31, 2011

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Flag of Vietnam  , Thừa Thiên-Huế,
Friday, August 6, 2010

Another bus ride, luckily only 4 hours, and we came to Hue, the capital city from 1800 to 1945.  After Hoi An's delightful traffic-free streets, Hue was initially a disappointment, feeling busy and non-descript despite being a fairly small place.  This wasn't such a problem, since we had a luxury hotel interlude here.  The former French Governor's colonial residence has been restored and expanded and is now a hotel called La Residence.  It is a fabulous art deco building, but so art deco and so French that it feels like being on a film set.  Surely nowhere this French now exists in France.  The business centre/computer room is delightfully called 'La Bibliotheque' and is lined with bookshelves, 1930s jazz constantly playing.  The hotel is just outside the busy part of town and overlooks the Perfume River, which is a very quiet waterway with just a few boats puttering up and down.  There is a very fine bar with lots of red leather and chrome, but they do add a little too much vermouth to the Martinis
The main tourist sight is the 'Imperial City' which is a huge walled city (10km perimeter) containing a further walled and moated 'Citadel', further containing the 'Forbidden Purple City' for the Emperor who ruled Vietnam when the whole edifice was built in the 1800s, but was later a puppet under French colonial rule.  Its a remarkable complex, sadly largely destroyed by wars but currently being restored - sometimes a little too well, becoming more like a reconstruction.
We've had good predictable tropical weather here - its blazing hot and sunny in the morning and then pours with rain for most of the afternoon.  Whilst out visiting some Royal Mausoleums on the outskirts of town on a scooter, it was obvious that the storm was coming and as we dashed back we could see everyone else doing the same or scrabbling to clear away anything on display outside their shops and get under cover.
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Dean on

Trust you to complain about the Maritnis! ho ho - looks a great place!

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