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A Note on Hue

VIETNAM | Friday, 8 March 2013 | Views [411]

We have been in Hue for two and a half days. So far it has been my favorite city in Vietnam.  Not as touristy as Hoi An, and not as frenetic as Ho Chi Minh City. It seems as though Hue has a larger population with expendable income, even compared to the more commercial city of HCMC.  The shops and amenities here don't seem to be geared soley to tourists.  There is a highly regarded high school here (one of the hardest to get into in the country) and a local university, so we think the young population has something to do with it.  We have heard that it is a pretty conservative town, but have not seen it... lots of young people without parents nearby!

Anyway, the result is that for tourists the pace here seems a bit more laid back.  Less is expected of you.  It's easier to observe.  The local motorcycle, boat, and cyclo touts are as "assertive" in trying to sell their services as anywhere, but it's a very walkeable city and it's easy to brush them off.  We suspect we are still being upsold on meals, but there's no sense of trying to take advantage... it seems like a mini tourist "tax".

Today we walked quite a long way to Thien Mu Pagoda and back.  We had one of our favorite culinary experiences of the trip at a grilled pork (thit nuong) restaurant, served two ways (in a modified summer roll, and over rice vermicilli noodles, both with lettuce and fresh herbs). Succulent, delicious, and very cheap!

Yesterday we visited the main tourist attraction in Hue: the Citadel and the Imperial City. It was quite an impressive site.  The influence of China on the aesthetics of the period was very clear. Built to serve the emperors of Vietnam between 1800 and the mid-1900's it was intricately tiled and painted... and then mostly destroyed by American bombing during the war.  It's quite sobering to see the contrast between the ornately decorated surviving buildings (they are really amazing) and the overgrown ruins of the rest of the complex. We also spent some time at the Royal Fine Arts Museum, which was cool and deserted after the hea and bustle of the Imperial City. There were some wonderful examples of mother-of-pearl inlay and embroidery.  Once we figure out how to upload pictures we will show you.  For now, check out our Facebook page for teaser images!

Tomorrow we will be traveling out to the Royal Mausoleums on the outskirts of the city.  The weather here has been beautiful, and it looks to be the same tomorrow!

~Gillian

Tags: food, hue, imperial city, vietnam

 

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