Saturday was a wash-out, literally & figuratively. It rained all day. We spent the morning driving from Hoi An to Hue. To get there you drive thru a beautiful mountain pass. The good news was we had our driver so Marty didn’t have to drive. He didn’t have to exert himself and I didn’t have to be anxious about his driving. 😏. The bad news was that it was so foggy (especially at the top of the mountain) that the view was non-existent.
Since it was still raining heavily when we arrived at our lovely hotel in an old French colonial mansion, we decided to postpone the afternoon sightseeing activities to the next day. We had an amazing suite with one of the largest patios I’ve ever seen. Of course, due to the weather we couldn’t make use of it. We then both did what we do best: Marty took a nap & I went to the spa for a lovely massage. Everyone was happy.
Unfortunately, it continued to rain all day Sunday, but this time we soldiered on (so to speak!). We started with a river “cruise” on the Perfume River. The boat was very modest, just a couple of seats inside. A family not only owned the boat, but lived on it; the husband was the captain, his wife was the first mate & their adorable little boy (around 2 years old) played happily as we “cruised”. It was a very sad, uncomfortable experience to me. I got more uncomfortable as the day progressed, but that was due to the rain & my very wet feet. Here’s the boat:
We got off the boat at the Thieu Mu Pagoda which is one of Vietnam’s oldest Buddhist temples.
In a corner of the grounds is a pale blue Morris automobile which transported a local monk to Saigon where he immolated himself in 1963 in protest against the anti-Buddhist laws of the Ngo Dinh Diem regime.
From there we went to the ancient Citadel. Hue was the capital of Vietnam until the early 20th century & generations of royalty lived in the Forbidden Purple City within the walled Citadel. I was really looking forward to exploring this in detail, but was so physically uncomfortable that it was a let-down. It did remind me of the Forbidden City in Beijing. It should be noted that the Citadel was also the site of some of the most brutal fighting during the infamous Tet Offensive of 1968.
From the Citadel we went to one of the Tombs of the Nguyen Emperors, I.e., the place where the Emperors who lived in the Citadel were buried. This is another UNESCO World Heritage site. It was quite impressive, but at this point we had had enough of the lousy weather.
We had some nice hot Bun Ba Hue soup – a traditional Hue soup. And then we headed to the airport for our flight to Hanoi which unfortunately has been delayed due to the weather. At least at the airport I was able to change into dry shoes & socks!
So our day had its highs and lows. Hope all goes well with all of you. I hope those of you I haven’t heard from yet will chime in.