THE ANCIENT IMPERIAL CITY OF HUE
My Tito Frankie and I took the night train to Hue. We shared the cabin with two Westeners - a man and a woman. The train left before midnight and nothing but darkness can be seen outside the window. I slept on the top bunker bed while my Tito got the lower bed. We somehow managed to sleep that night. We woke up around 7am in time for breakfast. Food was sold on a pushcart and we bought a piece of chicken. I was feeling restless with the long trip till the train came to a full stop. I realized that we finally reached our destination: Hue. We hurriedly got off the train and went out of the station; flagged down a taxi and asked the driver to bring us to the city center. It was rather a short distance from the train station to the center of the city, about a kilometer or so. The driver dropped us in front of a small hotel along the main road, Le Loi. We checked in at TRANLY HOTEL.
The hotel offfers tour packages and we decided to book a half-day motorcycle tour to Thien
Mu Pagoda and the Citadel. This is the most famous icon in Hue. From the Thien Mu Pagoda we went straight to the Citadel but didn't make it before ticket counter closing time so we had to come back the following day. We booked another motorcycle tour to the emperors' tombs. We visited three imperial tombs of the Nguyen emperors. These are the tombs of Khai Din, Minh Mang and Tu Duc. On our way back to the hotel we asked the moto drivers to drop us at the Citadel. This used to be the seat of government and royal residence of the Nguyen Emperors. We happened to be in Hue in time for the Hue Festival 2008, the biggest cultural celebration which takes place every other year. There were lots of activities lined up at the Citadel. There were huge posters, flowers, lanterns, and other decorations which gave a festive mood everywhere in the city.
We walked back to the hotel passing through the Trung Thien Bridge, the public park, and the Vietnamese Water Puppet Theatre.
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