After our cruise in Halong Bay we headed to the airport to travel to Hue. We stopped on the way in a village of farmers.
Vietnam is the second largest rice producer in the world and rice fields are present everywhere. In the north, there are two harvests a year while in the south, they get three because of the more favorable climate. The village where we stopped was typical. We walked along the rice fields with mountains in the background and visited the cemetery with its elaborate monuments honoring deceased ancestors. We learned that in the North, they dig up the dead every three years to re-bury the remains to reduce the space and be able to add members of the same family to the plot.
We arrived in Hue late in the evening, our hotel located on one of the streets (Pham Ngu Lao) of the block that becomes pedestrian after 6 pm, there was still a lot of action. Hue is said to be one of the most important cultural and historical centers of Vietnam.
The next morning, we walked to the Perfume River (Song Huong) to take a boat decorated with dragons. These boats shuttled between the city and Thien Mu pagoda, the oldest in Hue, built in 1601, where the young monks are trained. The gardens are so beautiful with the bonsai trees. We continued towards the Citadel, imperial city, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993, absolutely extraordinary even though some buildings were damaged during the last war and those of Indochina. A lot of restoration work is in progress.
We continued our day with the visit of the Minh Mang Mausoleum. This complex is one of the most impressive of the seven royal tombs of the emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty with its lakes, gardens and elaborate buildings.
Hue is a vibrant city where we felt the joy of living wherever we went. Karaoke is very popular, especially among young men, and the memory of the war of 60-75 is omnipresent as everywhere else in Vietnam. Hue’s cafes are witness to this, with their furniture and decorations made from war relics.
Also to see, the Dong Ba local market very busy in the early morning, quieter in the afternoon, but just as interesting.
To be continued…
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