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Hue, Vietnam – February 5, 2015

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It seems people either love Hue or are completely uninterested in it. Some people told us to stop and others told us to pass by the city. We decided to follow our intuition and stop, partly because we didn’t want such a long final bus ride back to Da Nang. We booked ourselves into the Hong Thien Ruby Hotel, which turned out to be one of the best hotels we have stayed at. The stay there was amazing and the free breakfast was excellent. Truly there was nothing we didn’t like.

Being that we were only in Hue for a couple nights we decided to play it safe and booked a group bus tour. We have been pretty lucky to date, when it comes to the weather and tours. Today was the first day we were out on a tour and it rained and rained and rained…. Ugh!!!. Our hotel gave us two umbrellas, along with our omelet egg sandwiches “to go”, because we left the hotel a little late (as we had all gotten up, dressed and ready to go, only to discover it was pouring rain , so we had to re-plan our wardrobe and get dressed all over again). We left with our guide (who arrived early) and our rain ponchos ready to take on the day. It rained until the last 30 minutes of our tour, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our day. I think for the kids, the rain made it a little more fun.

In all honesty, we remember few details of this tour. As we look back at the photos, we recall seeing the buildings and sites, but cannot remember the specifics of them. We know some of the sites were tombs of previous emperors. We got to tour inside the Imperial City (The Ancient Citadel) and see some of the buildings and sites, including an area called the Purple Forbidden City (which at its time would have been an area where common citizens would not have been allowed). We remember learning about the monk who in the early 1960’s sat in the middle of a street in Ho Chi Minh City and burned himself alive in protest. We do remember walking in the rain, passing through the beautiful buildings/sites and admiring the architecture, artwork and gardens.

It’s not that we didn’t enjoy our tour, because we did. We enjoyed watching the Kung Fu demonstrations (much to my surprise), we enjoyed learning and seeing how incense sticks and traditional Vietnamese conical hats were made. We even enjoyed walking in the warm rain. We recall hearing on previous tours, different versions of Vietnamese history about the emperors. But now, looking at the photos we don’t remember whose tomb it was or what pagoda or temple it was. But for us that is OK, we will remember our very animated and happy guide, Jack, our day out following the sea of umbrellas past beautiful historical sites. We will remember walking up hundreds of stairs, posing with statues, jumping puddles and the calm boat ride down the Perfume River at the end of the day. We will remember being together and being amazed at the beauty, variety and history of this corner of the world… Vietnam.

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