Rainy days in Hue

Formerly the capital of Vietnam, Hue is located near the coast about half way up the country.

The arrival of Emperor Gia Long in 1802 brought with him much of the building work that remains in place in the city today - a Chinese-style forbidden city complex, and emperors tombs along the Perfume River.

It's unfortunate that it rained the entire time of our stay in Hue - the citadel is an impressive, massive site, despite much of it having been destroyed in a Tet offensive in 1968. It would have been great to have seen it under sunny skies, rather than from under the caps of our heavy duty ponchos.

Large ponds filled with Koi lined the main gate, and from there, a bunch of buildings and paths filled out the complex. The intricate stone and wood carvings gave a pretty good indication of how it would have looked in its former glory - brilliant red gates, mosaic tiled walls and ceilings, colorful sculptures, and a massive spire with the Vietnamese flag flying high.

Next on the agenda was a cruise down the Perfume River, in a boat that was kind of like a houseboat with the rooms - or a floating covered pontoon with a couple of dragon heads at the bow.

We saw men dredging sand, apparently to use to build their homes, many fishermen, and a steady stream of boats steaming up and down the river. It was a peaceful way to keep out of the drizzle.

The boat docked to let us off at a large pagoda atop a hill. It looked majestic in the mist.

Then it was on to the emperor's tombs - another huge complex with a number of buildings, lakes and courtyards. Emperors apparently built their tombs while they were alive and used them as a retreat from the Forbidden City.

One good thing about the rain, was that it gave us a great opportunity to capture water drops on the flowers which brightened the otherwise monotone landscape.

Here's hoping the rain stops in our next stop, Hanoi!

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