25.11.2010 - 27.11.2010 29 °C
Bright sunshine greeted us as we arrived at Hue train station along with a large group of taxi drivers all touting for fares into the centre. A Dutch girl who had been on our train approached us as we exited the train station and asked to look at our map of the city. She then spotted a people carrier from the Backpacker Hostel that she had pre-booked and it turned out to be there to pick her up. She very kindly invited us to join her in her in the people carrier, with the hostel staff hoping that we might also want to stay there when we got there. We took a look at the hostel but it was in a noisy location so we decided to take wander around in search of a better place - along with Henrik & Stephanie. We found a guesthouse down a quiet alleyway with the added bonus of a swimming pool for the same price as the hostel and after dumping our bags we took a quick dip in the pool and soaked up the sun for an hour.
Early in the afternoon we made our way across the Song Huong river to the Citadel, a former imperial city home to Vietnams last royal dynasty (1802-1945) that was later heavily bombed by the Americans. We made our way across the moat to the 'Imperial Enclosure', a citadel within a citadel and inside the 2.5km long and 6metre high walls we found many ceremonial halls, gardens and 'the Forbidden Purple City' which was reserved for the private life of the Emperor. Bizarrely, amongst all of the disintegrating halls there was also a brand new 'all weather surface' tennis court at the centre of the citadel, which purports to be a restoration - apparently the emperor had enjoyed sports!
We made our way to the large 'Dong Ba Market' and walked around the many stalls offering a wide variety of goods and negotiated with vendors for some fruit, knowing full well that prices were being inflated for 'tourists'. The main backpacker hostel area of the city was also home to many restaurants and bars targetting travellers and when we went out for a bite to eat in the evening, this area was very busy with fellow travellers and tourists socialising in groups.
The next morning we booked a bus to take us to Hoi An in the afternoon.