A Gray Day in Hue
Today I am in Huế. Today it rained. Pretty much all day, till after 3.30 at least. Which is when I gave up being a tourist and retired to my cosy hotel with a book and iPad.
Before that, for over four hours I had walked to and around the Imperial City. The reason anyone comes to Hue. In Cambodia there is Angkor Wat, in Vietnam there is Hue
The rain sat as if it had edged over from Cumbria. A colony of toads appeared to have taken to the road, I noticed one hopping across, then realised a whole field was moving as they migrated across.
I became was so drenched my fingers and toes looked as if I’d been boiled in a bath for an hour or two. It’s testament to the robustness of Fujifilm cameras that I managed to get any photos at all.
Rain streaks and colour
Almost every other person I have met in Vietnam is called Nguyễn, surname that is. The Nguyễn were the last Imperial family of Vietnam and Huế was their home.
Carvings depicted all the power of th e Nguyen dynasty
Wet as I was, the palace still impressed. At one time it must have equalled, if not outshone European palaces such as Versailles and Potsdam.
at least the gargoyle works
Surrounded by a moat fed from the Perfumed River, there are moats within moats. Square walls within square walls and buildings set within.
Sections for servants, Queen Mothers and eunuchs. Each placed according to rank and seniority until the ultimate forbidden city wherein the Emperor would reside.
Much was damaged during the Vietnam war. Some has been restored. Even where faded from years of neglect you can see the richness of colour and detail bestowed on this most royal of residences.
Now a UNESCO world heritage site there are information boards in several languages explaining the history and photographs from the early 20th century when tigers and elephants were still set together to fight. A strange kind of sport.
Rock gardens and rain
Almost more incongruous is a tennis court. Restored to perfect playing order, where the last Emperor could fulfil his fascination with western sports and entertain his foreign guests.
Ruins and rain
With only a couple of days here, and other sights to see, I had no choice but to go in the rain. On a dry day it will be even more magnificent. The plus side, there were not many others around on a wet Sunday morning.
A fitting end