Letting the train take the strain
We left Tuy Hoa on the 6.56 train (although didn’t actually leave until 7.25 but this is Vietnam) for Hue which a 9.5 hour journey. We weren’t so organised with food this time but the previous train had food so we thought we would hope for the best. Ian tried the chicken soup for breakfast, which was rice and chicken in soup. He thought it was OK, but like porridge consistency which I don’t like so glad I didn’t have any. A little while later they came round selling more food which looked OK. So I had pork skewers and chicken with bean sprouts, which was quite tasty.
So we’ve been carrying our PAC a Macs around and I’ve finally found a need to wear it, on the train because the air conditioning is too cold. Ironically it is raining outside! Spoke to soon as it rained in Hue as we going off out for dinner too, but not too much and not for too long. Some of the views from the train around Danang was amazing. We zig zagged right along the coast so much so we could see the front of the train from our seats.
A Little Gem of a Hotel
The hotel we were staying at, the Hue Garden Village Hotel, offered a free transfer. We met the guy who promptly put us in a taxi and waved us off. It was only on arriving at our destination that the guy reappeared. Cars couldn’t go down the road the hotel was on so he carried our bags down and paid for the taxi!
Ian had chosen this hotel and I think amongst other things he liked the price which was $20 (£16.40) per night including breakfast. Now I was a bit sceptical imagining it’s not going to be much up from a hostel and hostels and me, never the twain shall meet. The photos looked OK and the old saying”the camera never lies” may have been the case in days gone by but not now we have Photoshop. Well what can I say I was truly amazed. We received a warm welcome with a drink and fruit. Our room was on the very top floor to the left which had the biggest balcony and caught the sun plus it had a pool which is a bonus in a city. All this for the price was amazing.
One of the main attractions in Hue is the Imperial City which is a fortress with a palace. Inside the City is the Forbidden City which was home to the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Forbidden City was only for the use of the Emperor and the royal family. The areas outside here were for various dignitaries and senior political people. The site is enormous being 10km in circumference and surrounded by a moat. It must have really been something in its day however a lot of it was bombed during the Vietnam War although there is a restoration project underway for a small part of the site.
On our second day here we decided to take advantage of the pool and the glorious weather and sit by the pool, although once Ian appeared just after 1 o’clock (he can’t do too much sun being a Ginger) it clouded over. We got chatting to an Aussie guy who asked me if I spoke English. He didn’t think I looked like a “Pommie”, those were his words not mine!
Ian’s Vietnamese hair cut
As some of you will know Ian’s hair grows at a very fast rate and once it gets to an inch or so he can start to look like a mad professor. So off we went in search of a barbers. Ian tried to communicate that he wanted a number 4 guard used on the clippers, it looked like it was a number 3, it could have been worse! He got the full works, haircut, face, ears and eyebrow trim and then taken off to a room at the back to have his hair washed. He was gone for about 15 mins or so and every so often I could here what sounded like continuous slapping. It transpires she was massaging his head. This was 250VND about £9.25.
We took a tour on the Perfume River stopping off at the Thien Mu Pagoda which we organised through the hotel and for just under a tenner for the two of us. We arrived at the Dragon boat and it was only then we realised we had exclusive use of it. It is called the Perfume River because in the autumn, flowers from orchards upriver from Hue fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like aroma.
At the Pagoda there was a young monk who periodically rang a large bell over the day. As with a lot of places there are always tour groups which can make it difficult to see things. This was one of those occasions.
Our time in Hue has flown by. We are off to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam on Monday 20th March, but flying this time as it’s a long train journey and time is getting short.
16-20 March 2017