Today's blog post will be incorporating two cities as I've been lazy about updating my blog these past few days. We'll start with Hoi An and My Son, taking us back to Wednesday.
Our trip to My Son had been planned the previous day. Gad and I would wake up at 4AM and pack our day packs, shower and get ready then head over to where Xan and Joe were staying. We'd meet them at 4:45, jump on the backs of their bikes and follow the tour bus to My Son. This would work out perfectly and we'd only end up paying the entrance fee for My Son. Brilliant!
Needless to say, our plan didn't work out. We woke up at 4 and found an SMS from Xan and Joe saying there was a problem with the bikes and we'd now be leaving at 7. We didn't complain, we were glad to get the extra couple of hours of sleep.
At 7 we jumped on the bikes and headed off. My Son was easy enough to find and it took us only an hour to get there. My Son was incredible. It is so difficult to describe. The sheer grandness of all the structures is mind-boggling and one can only imagine it's grandeur a millennium ago. The ruins hint at a time long ago and of the people who inhabited this incredible place. I am truly at a loss for words to describe it, the lsat paragraph has taken me fifteen minutes to write. Have a look at some pictures of My Son, they'll help me explain it to you.
|The first view of My Son|
|An idea of the scale|
|Sight A, the main part of the ancient city|
|One of the many buildings in site A|
The day after our visit to My Son we headed to the ancient capital of Vietnam, Hue. It is in Hue that Ho Chi Minh's body is kept on display for 9 months of the year. Also in Hue is the Imperial City which was the home of the Emperors of the Nguyen - which reined from 1802 to1945. Our first day in Hue was spent getting our bearings and finding good places to eat and drink. Once our scouting was done we planned for the next day. We thought the best PoA was to head to the Citadel and walk around for the day, but only after we'd bought our tickets to Hanoi for the 1st. And so yesterday began with that course of action in mind. It took us more than two hours to sort the tickets out. This is because Gad has an open bus ticket and had payed for it in Saigon. Open bus tickets are supposed to be convenient. In each city you merely notify your guest house the day before you leave and they'll contact a bus to pick you up the next day. It's easy for me as I just book each leg separately, but Gad got sent to 4 different places to book the ticket and at the last place was told he had to pay an extra $9 to book the bus. The whole idea behind an open bus ticket is that you pay up front and you don't have to worry about availability of buses. In the end he managed to get his ticket, but not without serious hassle. We discovered that the extra charge was due to the Hue Festival which is taking place this weekend and the coming week.
A morning worth of exploring Hue had been wasted but we headed over to the Citadel anyway so as not to waste an entire day. In the Citadel we saw the Festival being set up and headed to the Imperial City. The Imperial City is probably one of Vietnam's biggest surprises. It is an enormous walled city in the middle of the Citadel and, despite having the shit bombed out of it during the war, still maintains it's incredible image.
|A giant bronze urn in the corner of a courtyard|
We walked around the Imperial City, lost in its charm and intricacy. We walked through chambers reserved for emperors and temples reserved for the ashes of emperors of old. We sat on the top of the main gate an looked out over the people of the city, as emperors did in years gone by. We were enthralled by the wonder of the place.
|The view from the rear of the Forbidden Purple City compound|
|A chilled lager with which to chill|