The Ancient Capital

Our dragon boat shortly after it dropped us of.
After a gruelling 14 hour sleeper bus journey, on which we were destroyed by bed bugs (the blankets don’t get washed after a journey) and during which we crossed the old border, we arrived in Hue. After leaving the bus we got swarmed by moped drivers aggressively asking us “Hey you, where you go !”, we told them the name of the hotel and that we would walk there as it was just around the corner. The moped drivers and even our bus driver told us it would be a 20 minute walk and that we should take the moped taxi. We declined and walked for about one and a half minutes to our hotel which was, after all, just around the corner. 
We dropped our bags in our rooms had lunch and walked to the perfume river. Our trip for the day was the Citadel. What we did not know was that the perfume river was absolutely enormous and walking to the bridge and across it would take ages. We then saw a few dragon boats on the shore and asked how much it was to be taken to the citadel. The 10 minute journey in our own dragon boat was about 1$ per person. As we jumped of the boat (literally jumped as there was no pier) we could see the walls of the citadel and headed toward them. After passing a variety of cannons and crossing a moat we took a look at the citadel. The landscape around this impressive system of defences was full of old trees with pale yellow flowers and the castle inside had a beautiful roof with dragons coming out of the corners, painted in red and orange. This, to the best of my knowledge, was the seat of the emperors and capital of Vietnam until just after the Second World War.
In the evening I (the other boys where not feeling well) met up with two girls (one of whom I knew from school) who had bought motorbikes in Saigon and are driving them up to Hanoi, which was very impressive considering they had little or no biking experience beforehand. One thing I found interesting about the Hue nightlife was that western travellers went to the same bars and clubs as the locals, something that did not occur in Hanoi. (I recommend the DMZ bar).
After a lovely breakfast in our hotel we gave our big bags away to be send to our next stop and rented bikes to ride over the hai van pass to hoi an.


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