Week 6- Vietnam (Hue) Day 2
Another early start for us this morning up at 6:45am for our tour of Hue City. Our first stop was the old citadel (Hue Imperial City) which is a walled fortress and a palace in the former capital of Vietnam. The grounds were absolutely huge. The Vietnam flag was on one of the main buildings, the Vietnam flag is red with a yellow star, the red represents the blood lost in the war and the yellow represents the Vietnamese skin colour. There were 9 canons in the Old Citadel, 4 represents the 4 seasons and the other 5 represent the 5 elements (earth, fire, water, metal and wood) they are sacred cannons made of bronze.
After that we went to visit the Garden House Village, which are illustrious examples of grand dynasties past. They are usually owned by descendent of the royal family. The house was quite small but the gardens were fairly big and surrounded the house. There were fig trees in the gardens which are quite special to the Vietnamese, as they are only grown in Hue. We then went to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda. It has seven stories and is the tallest in Vietnam. It is regarded as the unofficial symbol of the former imperial capital. It sits on the Northern Bank of the Perfume River, the views from the pagoda were very pretty.
It was then time to refuel with a buffet lunch and to try and cool down as it is a scorching day in Hue probably one of the hottest days so far whilst travelling. After lunch we went to visit the Minh Mang Tomb, which was built for the second emperor of the Nguyen dynasty of Vietnam. Ming Mang allowed little innovation in the Vietnamese society and restricted trade and exchange with western powers. Ming Mang was buried there. The grounds that the tomb was on is huge it also includes a summer home and lake. The next tomb we went to visit was the Khai Dinh Tomb, this tomb was our favourite as it is quite elaborate. It is a modern day adaption of a ancient tomb. It was built for emperor Khai Dinh who ruled Vietnam for 9 years. His tomb took 11 years to complete. Under Khai Dinh western culture and influence began to seep into Vietnam. The king himself visited France, hence why his tomb has a French influence. We then went to visit Tu Dac tomb. Tu Dac was the fourth emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty of Vietnam. Tu Dac was known for his opposition to foreigners and innovation and due to the repressive policies of the previous Nguyen Dynasty Emperor he wasn't very popular with the Vietnamese people.
After visiting all the tombs we went to the Conical hat and incense stick making village, although we didn't see anything being made. Charlotte did a bit of bargaining and managed to get herself a picture for quarter the price that it started at! We the got on the Dragon Boat along the Perfume river. The river is called the perfume river because dyeing autumn the flowers from the orchards upriver fall into the water which gives the river a perfume like aroma. Although it didn't smell of perfume whilst we were there.
Unfortunately we have had to google a lot of the information about the sites that we saw today as our tour guide was rubbish and gave us very little information if any about the sites that we saw. He spoke Vietnamese for the majority of the tour! So when we got back to the hotel we complained that we didn't really have a English speaking guide as he spoke Vietnamese all the time, even though it was an English tour! Tonight we had dinner at a street stall, we had chicken noodle soup with pastry like bread, bean sprouts and greens. It's was yummy and was 100,000 Dong (just over £2) for the both of us. Bargain! We were both extremely knackered so we hit the sack early, zzzzzzz.