Vietnam has been ruled by a series dynasties. The most recent of these was the Nguyen Dynasty, which lasted until 1945, when the last emperor abdicated power. Due to its central location, Hue and its environs was home to each of these dynasties and the countryside is fairly littered with historical temples, palaces, tombs, and pagodas. Although many of these architectural gems were destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968, there are still many fascinating sites to visit. Hue is divided between the old fortified city and the new urban sprawl that has grown up on the south side of the Huong River. It was this suburb that I found myself in last night – thus my comment about finding Hue disappointing after Hoi An. By the light of day, however, I discovered that I was only a short walk from the Citadel and the Forbidden Purple Palace, so I set out early this morning to see what I could discover.
Walking anywhere in Vietnam is difficult. First, no one understands my desire to walk. They think I am crazy to be out walking in the hot sun when I could be riding. Second, every few steps I was accosted by an enterprising motorbike, taxi, or pedicab driver who tried to sell me a tour or convince me to take a ride with them. It always starts with the same opening: “Hello, madame, where you from?” If you answer them, then you have to fend them off for the next 15 minutes. I literally had one pedicab driver follow me around for half a mile today, Continue reading