The Imperial City in Hue

Hue is a small town which until not that long ago was the capital of Vietnam and the seat of the last Emperors. Built along the Perfume River, it has an old walled city and within that a citadel which housed the Emperor’s quarters along with his closest family, concubines and eunuchs if I read the inscription right.

The 20 hour train trip from Saigon to Hue pronounced “Hwey” was uneventful, we had the two top bunks and ate our Vietnamese pork pies, bought in Saigon plus a few other pastries and listened to our books.

Outside the walls the town spreads for a little but isn’t huge. It’s known for the historic sites but also for large battles during the Vietnam war or the American war as they call it here.

Day one and we visited the Imperial City and looked around the royal quarters and official buildings, very impressive, but must not forget it was only built in the 1830s, not that long ago in historic terms but never the less colourful and quite imposing. Afterwards we went to Khai Dinh tombs, 10km outside the city. Watched over by a gallery of life-sized warriors, this is one ostentatious tomb!

PS reckon these guys look like diamond dealers 😉

Looking at the traffic from a small cafe and dwindling the day away with a banana milk shake, Malene is on the hard stuff with a warm mocha chocolate milkshake thing and working on the blog photos.

Pondering the traffic which works on a near-miss type of arrangement, it’s how it is! You could be one step away from your car with the door open and a motorbike will manage to squeeze between you and the car door before you step in, I witnessed this but it is hard to take photos that depict the chaos.

Saw 2-3 accidents so far in Vietnam, hope none were serious. Accidents are inevitable. Despite the apparent skill of the riders to fit through any small gap, Vietnam has an appalling road toll. As I’m sitting here gazing at the traffic CRACH… BANG and this young fellow skids along the road on his stomach right in front of our cafe. I get up to look, he seems ok, scratched bruised, I look further away and the other guy is ok too, holding his arm but it seems to be working. In the same way as with an incident during a taxi ride in Saigon there was no good old Cyprus style shouting “Belle…malaka…balave” etc to each other. No, they calmly dusted themselves off and exchanged details, I wonder what’s the point, who’s to blame, one was probably texting at the time of the accident and the other was completely over on the wrong side of the road. You need eyes in your bottom here, at the rate I’m wearing my shorts I’ll soon have holes for some… Cooler day today so will wear long trousers tonight for a change. I fear we’ve had the last of the balmy, lazy beach days until we make it to Mexico. It will get hotter as summer settles into the northern hemisphere but finding beaches and warm sea in China and Japan I very much doubt.


  1. Hege says:

    Hi there both,
    Great blogging, Excited and jealous at the same time looking at your photos and reading the commentary….. Keep it coming!
    Cold and wet hugs from Melbourne,
    Chris & Hege

    • Hi Hege and Chris
      Thank you! We are in Hanoi now and staying in a small AirBNB flat. Nice with a bit more space than a hotel room as you will remember from your trip with Bruce!
      Take care
      Malene and Nick

    • Hi Joan
      We have applied for our Chinese visa here in Hanoi. With a bit of luck will pick it up on Tuesday although we are staying in Hanoi for another 2 weeks. The process was actually very easy.
      Re the diamond dealers you obviously see the likeness as well…
      Malene and Nick

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