I woke up on the bus to find myself in Hue. Perhaps due to my abandonment of my guidebook, I ended up missing out on the royal mausoleums in Hue. Oh well…
Traffic in Hue is a little lighter than Hanoi, and hence, once again, I rented a bike to explore the town. The trip was pretty fruitful, as I got to explore more parts of the Citadel (a UNESCO world heritage site) than I would have on foot. Due to my lousy reading of my guidebook, I missed out on the fine print in my book that gave me the directions to the royal mausoleum on bike, argh! But by then, i twas too late, as I had already returned the bike.
I decided to make the best out of the situation, and visit the palace complex within the Citadel! Once again, I was faced with Vietnam’s double pricing system, and I ended up paying 30 000VND more than the locals.
The palace, hmm, compared to China’s Purple Forbidden City, this Purple Forbidden City is a dwarf by comparison. However, one good thing about this Purple Forbidden City is its access. Here is about the closest that anyone can get to the dragon throne anywhere in the world. Also, the The Mieu temple has these fascinating wind chimes hanging on the eaves of its gates, giving a pleasant tinkling sound with the caress of the wind.
The walk in the palace was followed by a found hunt for Hue’s banana pancake (banh khoai). After following my guidebook, and walking for around 45 min, I was sorely disappointed to find out that the eatery recommended by the guidebook was replaced by a film processing shop, and the next nearest recommended cafe had moved. After trudging for another half an hour with my tired body, I finally settled at Mandarin cafe.
The famed banana pancake is served with a weird, sourish peanut sauce, that I decided to give it a miss, and just eat the pancake plain.
After my heavy lunch, my sore blistered feet went on strike, and the only thing left to do was to return to my room to read, which was very productive. Apart from finishing a rather intriguing “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood, I was also so captivated by Dan Brown’s Da Vinci code that I ended up finishing it in one sitting. Boy, am I glad there are book exchanges in Vietnam!
Boat floating down the Perfume River
Goldfish for sale
The Noon Gate at the Forbidden City