The journey south to Hue didn't start well, an 11 hour train journey on the crappiest of crap sleeper trains.I had been so used to the Chinese sleeper trains which are fairly modern, they have good food cars and hostess trolleys with fresh fruit, snacks and beer every half an hour or so.Because I was used to the Chinese trains and our guide didn't think to tell us that there would be no food for sale on the train I didn't bring anything with me.So for the first 3-4 hours four of us survived on half a pack of Oreos.We stopped at a station a few hours in, where Dave and I jumped off to buy some food from the dozen or so stalls selling, bread crisps, dried rat etc.I got some bread rolls and bananas (for one of my legendary banana sandwiches) and Dave got crisps, crackers and some random bits.Upon closer inspection all of Dave's stuff was out of date by at least 6 months, one of my baguettes was stale and the other was hollow with a mouse sized hole at one end!Dave risked the out of date crackers, I wasn't brave enough to risk my baguettes so just stuck with the bananas.
The hotel was really nice and had free bike hire, so Alex and I took advantage and spent the afternoon risking our lives with the Vietnamese kamikaze drivers - I'll upload the videos! We did find a cool little place for lunch, crispy noodles, spicy chicken & prawns, lots of ice tea and all for about a quid!
Not content with nearly dying on push bikes, we booked up a moped tour of the city and the out lying villages.I was a little apprehensive about spending five hours on the back of a moped with a sweaty Vietnamese man, but it actually turned out to be great fun.Twelve of us decided to do the tour, so we had a convoy of twelve Honda Dreams and there uniformed chauffeurs buzzing us through villages and paddy fields.We also visited a little village market, the perfume river and had lunch at an orphanage.The kids were really interested to see us, but we were shuffled through to the dining room, fed then shuffled out again.I would have liked to spent more time with the kids, played some foot ball or hacky sack, it was a real shame, I felt as we were tourist intruding on the poor kids and we weren't able to give anything back.
After lunch we the rest of the guys went to a mausoleum, Alex and I had more ice tea and played hacky sack with the locals outside!Old monuments are nowhere near as much fun as play games with the locals!En-route home Al's driver decided to stop, mind didn't stop quite so quickly nor did Sarah's behind me so we had a little pile up!!!Luckily the only damage was a graze on Al's leg, which he was pissed off about as it wasn't deep enough to scar!
The following day, we visited the Forbidden Purple City, basically another palace and temple complex that was out of bounds to common folk until quite recently.The buildings were amazing; they were still in the process of being renovated, so not quite in their full glory.The gardens were really over grown, but beautiful and peaceful.I wasn't too sure about the elephant they had doing rides around the gardens - he looked so majestic but so sad, he had very empty eyes.
We are heading down to Hoi An tomorrow, I can't wait to be by the sea!