Hue

We’re heading off to Hoi An tommorow (the DMZ, Khe Sanh and the Vinh Moc Tunnels will have to wait a few days), so we tried to fit in as much of Hue as possible. It was nice just riding the now sorted bike to be honest, although the speedo is now broken, but its of literally no importance here at all…

Anyway, Hue! The city itself is brilliant, a much more chilled out version of Hanoi, but if i’m going to stand around snapping pics like a tourist, i thought i’d better do it at some tourist sites. First up was Tu Duc’s tomb complex.

Most of the actual tombs were a bit crumbly, since everything is so damp that mold and algae grows like buggery, but the grounds themselves were lovely. There were two area’s, the living palace area and surrounds, and the tombs themselves. This pic is of the concubine’s lake, and the the building where they presumably sunned themselves when not servicing the royal needs.

The whole area was crisscrossed with these “moats”. Would have been a lovely pic, if it weren’t for the bright orange wheelie bin. The Vietnamese see no problem with putting bins, or big banners, or flashing neon lights at beautiful locations. Not a problem apparently.

Steffan with the tomb of the Emperors adopted son, which was actually in much better nick than that of the Emperor and Empress. And no-one knows if the body of the Emperor is actually in his tomb anyway, since everyone involved was killed as soon as they finished the job. So it goes.

Another view of the grounds. I can do photography me.

Pagoda thingy which contains a Stele covered in a self-effacing autobiography by the Emperor, who was much more into writing endless poetry than ruling the country. So he wrote this, saying how rubbish he was. And then had a building built for it. Instead of getting on with running the country. Dunno if the people who built this one were all killed as well…

We tried to find another temple we’d been told was really nice, and got completely lost. But we did find a massive statue of some guy looking out over Hue, and climbed the hill for a good view. Pic of ginger-beardy mofo.

Then, still trying to find the temple, we started asking around, and ended up finding this woman and her niece who offered to take us to it and show us round with no alterior motives. Awesome. You can see them in the foreground with Steffan here. Really beautiful place, but it was only built 3 years ago…

You could walk to the top of the hill and ring the peace bell, so we had a go. Was awesome just to hear the noise it made to be honest, it seemed to ring forever. There was also a monk there, and all day everyday, if no-one else was there to ring it, he rang the bell for peace. That’s a cool job.

After that on the whirlwind tour, and looking for something a bit older, we headed for the Citadel in Hue. They’re restoring (read rebuilding) most of it so it looks, frankly, like a building site. Did my best to find the beautiful bits and take pics. The gateway to the forbidden city.

Inner courtyard with bronze vessels from the 1600’s, and the buildings for the mandarins preparing to see the Emperor in the background.

Actually a pretty good pic of me, on the steps that once, only the Emperor could walk on.

It really was a bit disappointing here, but just occasionally, you got a glimpse of how amazing it must once have been.

The Emperor’s reading room. Nice.

And then finally, we went to the Thien Mu Pagoda. Was generally lovely, and loads of monks about (i hadnt seen a single one till i came to Hue), but it was getting dark so the pics are rubbish. All the monks had finished monking for the day and the young ones were having a kick about with a football, an excellent sight. People are people, no matter where you go. But anyway, onto the photo.

Okay, if you’ve seen the cover of the first Rage Against the Machine album, you’ll know the photo i’m talking about. But theres a famous photo of a monk who drove a car into the middle of Saigon in the 60’s, got out, doused himself in petrol, sat down in the lotus position, and set himself on fire in protest. You can see a copy of the photo on the wall in the background and on the dashboard of the car. Anyway, the car, its the car he used. I always loved that image, and to be that close to something so closely connected to it was really cool. Best thing i saw all day i think.

Anyway, off to Hoi An tomorrow, past hot springs, Marble Mountain, and the Hai Van Pass. Should be good!

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~ by zendog888 on 20/11/2010.

One Response to “Hue”

  1. My name is Gareth Nolan and I approve this beard.

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