After a pretty rough and bumpy 12 hour drive we had made it to Hué. Hué is ust below the old North/South Vietnamese border and just above the cities of Da Nang and Hoi An. When the royal family was in charge of Vietnam and before it was split into North and South, Hué used to be the capital of the country.
Unfortunately the day we got here it was raining so none of us were hugely in the mood to go and explore the town. We booked two tours, one to visit the city and the tombs around the area and the other tour was around the De-Militarised Zone (DMZ) 5km either side of the river that marked the border. According to the receptionist there was nothing else to do other than these two tours!!
First up was the city tour, we saw the citadel where the country used to be run from. One part of the citadel was the forbidden city where the Emperors lived but during the war the communists hid there and the American flattened it with bombs, it hasn't been restored at all so there's not really much to see any more. Then we saw the tombs of some of the bigger emperors. One was Tu Ducs tomb and it was massive, I'd imagined just a building with a coffin or some stone marking where the body was buried. These "tombs" are more like parks with lakes and numerous buildings and temples all over the place. They were quite impressive to see and it was good to hear some of the history behind it all. It finished off with a boat ride along the perfume river, the only problem being that the river didn't smell of perfume and it was raining so much you couldn't see anything!
The next day we were up even earlier to see the DMZ and surrounding areas. Throughout the whole thing I was struggling to recall everything I'd been taught during GCSE history! We saw a mountain that was used by the US troops to direct bombs at the communists. We then saw a bridge and highway that had been built as a memorial to one of Ho Chi Minh's trails through the jungle that took supplies from north to south. We crossed the river into North Vietnam and walked through a series of tunnels where several families lived for the duration of the war. Some 17 children were born in the tunnels. I was struggling after walking through them for 15 minutes so who knows how people actually lived in them! We'd had enough of rain by the time we got back to the hotel (especially as it had been coming into our hotel room some how and flooding the floor!). So our last night was take away pizza and film night :-)
We all jumped on the bus the next day. Kathy and Ali were staying onto Hoi An and I was jumping off in Da Nang to catch my flight to Singapore. Thanks for a great couple of weeks in Vietnam you two - see you in Clapham some time!