where there’s a will there’s a Hue

Citadel, Hue I have no excuse for the blog title whatsoever, apart from the fact that it was too wonderfully cheesy to resist. James and I spent our day in Hue on a City Tour, all the obvious sights and sounds of the city in one hit and to be honest it was a pretty good day. We visited the Forbidden Purple City in the centre of the old citadel with its ornate ceilings, carvings and roof work. Citadel, HueIn typical Asian style if you an emperor of days past the done thing was to stock up on many royal concubines. Then build them a city that only you had access to and leave a substantial guard of eunuchs on guard to preserve their chastity and so you could be sure that your heirs were your own. Sadly for Emperor Tu Duc he was made sterile by small pox, so he concerned himself with ordering his tea to be made with the fresh morning dew instead! We also stopped by one of the traditional Madarin houses from the previous century. The Mandarins were the educated elite in Vietnam, those who held doctorates and were much involved with the politics and administration of the state. They were also not above, it seems, when they didn’t like a particular emperor or his heirs, bumping them off to improve the situation!

Khai Dinh Tomb, HueAfter lunch, we went to visit a few of the old tombs built to house the remains of 19th century emperors of Hue. The Tomb of Tu Duc set amongst pine trees with a beautiful wooden poetry house built on the edge of a large pond. And the impressive hill top tomb of Khai Dinh guarded by rows of stone mandarins. We visited the beautiful Thien Pagoda, the first built in Hue and learnt how to distinguish the ‘small monks’ from the ‘young monks’ and the ‘real monks’ based on their hairstyles and then took a brightly painted dragon boat back down the perfume river to the city. Dragon Boats, HueIn fact the only downside to an otherwise pleasant day was James continuing to kick my ass at cribbage. I have now lost the Thailand cribathon, got trounced in Laos and suffered three straight skunkings in Vietnam. Clearly the gloves need to come off!

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