Flew to Hue today with Vietnam Airlines. A nice airline. Efficient. The flight was a mere 1 hour. I arrived in Hue and reluctantly boarded the minibus from the airport, knowing full-well I’d be taken to a hotel miles away from the action at the recommendation of the touts. The hotel, predictably, wasn’t particularly inviting, so I began traipsing around looking for a place to stay. Luckily, Hue is a beautiful little city nestled on the banks of the Perfume River either side, and has a rustic, quaint charm. Walking around the hotel area took around 15 minutes. I checked out a lot of of places, finally settling on the Sports Inn. This was the best room of the trip so far, and a snip at $15.
I was glad to be out of the searing heat. Dumping my bags, I took refuge in a pleasant French restaurant next door, and I had a croque monsieur, my first since Montargis, a little place outside Orleans I visited many years ago. I was addicted to them back then.
After lunch, I caught a cyclo across the Perfume River and to the Citadel, a distance I could have walked, but the novelty of using a painfully slow cyclo ridden by a man very soon to be pushing up daisies hadn’t yet worn off. The Citadel is a huge place full of interesting and colourful temples and pagodas. I spent the best part of half a day in its regal splendour. On the way out, I noticed hundreds of people had begun flying kites, a popular past-time in Hue. I bought one, and was suddenly transformed into an enthusiastic child, with a grim determination to keep my kite flying, but each time I sent the kite up, it came crashing down too close to the heads of a gang of tough-looking locals for comfort. I gave up.
After this intensive kite-flying session I walked back along the romantic river. Boats were sitting in the water, while local artists entertained the guests over their fresh seafood meals, and the sound of much laughter and merriment could be heard drifting on the light perfume breeze. Back at the hotel, I made the decision to leave Hue for Hoi An the next day. I would have happily stayed a week in this peaceful place, but needed to push on to the place everybody had been raving about. Because I wanted to. I travel alone mostly because I want to do what I want to do, entertain my ideas, drink and eat what I want to. It’s selfish, but much preferable generally. Having said that, conversation is nice too. Sharing the great day you’ve just experienced with someone. Sometimes. I booked a bus for 2pm the next day, then went to a place called Little Italy for some classic Italian fare. After this I strolled down the quiet, dark street to Why Not? bar and ran into Ashley and Slade, as well as Rob and Helen, an English brother/sister team. Seems to be all the rage to travel with your sibling these days! The tourist trail in Vietnam is very obvious and well-trodden. Nice people. Had a few too many beers, then headed back to the Sports Inn with a spring in my step.