We got into Hue and had high expectations - it is my equal favourite place in Vietnam based on previous trips (sharing this honour with Sapa in the North West mountains) - so I had been talking it up a lot to Molly and Julia who had minimal memories from 4 years ago when we were last here. Mostly it lived up to my hype.
Sitting on the Perfume River, the North bank dominated by the walled Citadel, Hue is the old seat of power in Vietnam. It was the Capital from 1802 until 1945, has beautiful tree lined streets, colonial shop fronts and buildings and lots of river life for entertainment. Restaurants and hotels cater well for the many tourists and in many places you can actually walk along the footpaths without dodging motorbikes.
We spent 2 nights on the South bank and 2 nights next to the inner walls of the citadel and would recommend the latter for peace and relaxation or the former for entertainment and dining.
When out and about on our 2nd last night we bumped into Margaret and Stephen again, publican extrordinairre's from Grafton, NSW. Somehow we ended up at a street stall in front of their hotel, playing guitars and generally watching the world go by until after midnight. Great fun and it was shaping to be a fitting end to our time in Vietnam.
And then on our way home the three of us were mobbed by Cyclo riders, one of whom ran Julia over, at speed and we were lucky to quickly get into a passing cab. well, the girls got in the cab, I felt some intimidation was in order and happily pointed out to the offending Cyclo moron that he seemed devoid of friends all of a sudden, his mates disappearing in every direction. Other events ensued and ultimately we returned to our hotel safely and really shouldn't judge a country on the behaviour of a few young fools - but our opinion of Vietnam has slowly been in decline since getting here. It is certainly not as charming to us now as it was 5 years ago when we first visited.
Then again, maybe we all loose our charm with age............either way, we are looking forward to Laos.