Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Palace & a Prime Minister

  Day 5 Hue Citadel

Woke to a glorious Hue morning – not too hot, but with the feel that it was certainly going to warm up considerably.  Buffet breakfast on the top floor of the hotel with amazing views over the Perfume River and the Citadel.

Destination today was the Hue Citadel.  Camera & water packed, & laundry organised to drop off at the little lady on the corner of our street.  We walked across the Truong Tien Bridge, passed the ‘bridge maintenance crew’ as the motorbikes streamed across in their lane and stopped at the only shopping plaza in Hue.  To call it a plaza is just a bit presumptuous actually, though it did have elevators and a/c, and a good selection of toe socks – the kind you can wear with your thongs (flip flops for my o/s friends who may be reading this)

The Citadel is really cool.  Home of the Nguyen emperors between 1802 & 1945, and scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Tet Offensive in 1968. It had the crapper bombed blown out of it by both sides and is slowly being re-built following UNESCO classification as a World Heritage site in 1993.

The Forbidden Purple City is the centrepiece .. exclusive residence of the Emperor, his mandarins, and the maids & eunuchs that made up the royal court.  It its heyday it would have been something really special.

Today’s visitors also included the Prime Minister of Bulgaria & his wife.  We had seen his motorcade go into the citadel while we were having a coffee at a little place on the edge of the moat.  A whole string of big black cars, several buses (which we discovered later were full of press) a couple of police cars with sirens and lights, a fire engine and an ambulance.  We were re-directed from the main throne room because the big wigs were having a chat. 

It is also the centre-sage of many of the activities associated with the Hue Festival and there were work crews setting up stages & lights all over the place.

We also checked out the Museum of Antiquities and an open air museum of war machines - tanks, helicopters, a MIG, and a USAF chopper,
then headed back for lunch at the same little street stall where we had enjoyed a coffee on our way to the Citadel.  Spring rolls & a couple of beers cost us the princely sum of $5…. Gotta love street food.

We have 25kg of luggage space from now on so I started to fill it up this afternoon.

Tomoffow we’re off to the DMZ – Khe Sanh, & the Vinh Moc tunnels.

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