We arrived in Hue at about 4.00pm after the day tour of the DMZ very tired. Luckily we didn't have to bother looking for a room as the tour guide from Dong Ha had recommended us a hotel and we were dropped off right outside. We literally dumped our bags and went in search for food, (a fairly expensive curry) but it was really nice.
Our first impressions of Hue was that it was a very touristy place and there didn't seem to be any sign of vietnemese culture anywhere, this is maimly because the city had to be completely rebuilt after it was all but levelled in 1968 through war. It did have a nice river that was all lit up at night that we walked along on the first night, but apart from that we were not really impressed.
The next day was spent mainly in the citadel which were the royal grounds that had 148 buildings in, most of tem being palaces for different things, however only 20 buildings remain now. The Citadel dates back to the early 19th Century when Emperor Gia long moved the capital from Hanoi and built his inperial city in Hue. There was a lot to see, but unfortuately as it was taken over by the North Vietnemese Army in 1968, the royal family fled and the assault on the citadel against the army meant that it was left in ruins. There is a lot of restoration work going on at the moment and the parts that have been restored make it easy to imagine how beautiful the whole place must have been.
It was a really good day, walking around the grounds at our own leisurely pace as we were both still tired. The weather was getting warmer which we were really glad of and it was so peaceful. That night we watched the sun set, which wasn't that great and then went to catch Liverpool beat Bolton!
The following morning we intended to cycle to Ho Chi Minh's house, but realised it was a bit far for us to do it in a morning, so we hired motorbikes with frivers again. Once we were 5 kilometers from the city there4 was a big difference both in the scenery and the people. The countryside was lovely and we both felt we were beginning to see the real Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh's house was a modest place by the river next to a small village. On the walk along the river a young boy befriended us to practice his English and to show us where to go, in return he wanted money but instead Matthew gave him a peace bracelet that a monk had given him in Singapore. The little boy was really happy with it anyway. All in all the walk was lovely and the locals were friendly even though they coundn't speak much English. It was a complete contrast from the city and what we had seen the day before and made a nice change to be where no other tourists were.
Then it was back to the city to catch a bus to Hoi An.