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Hoi An was big fun and I had a hard time leaving. It was one of those places that you plan on staying only a few days and end up staying a lot longer
I planned 3 days and ended up staying eight. A very mellow place, and it turned out to be my favorite Vietnamese city.

But it was time to move on. I booked a bus ticket and headed up to the old Imperial City of Hue.

Hue is considered the cultural center of Vietnam, and with the colleges, old tombs of the formal emperors, and the ruins of the ancient Imperial City destroyed during the Tet Offensive in 1968 there was a lot to see.
I gave the tombs and colleges a miss this trip. I was pretty tired when I got to Hue, so I got myself a *sweet* room at one of the best hotels in town and just took it easy for a couple days. I did a lot of walking and a lot of eating.

That's not to say that I didn't look around, and I spent one entire day at the Citadel. The Citadel was the scene of probably the fiercest fighting between US forces (most notably, the Marines) and the NVA during Tet, and almost the entire Purple City was flattened by artillery and air strikes during the 34 days of combat. What's left are some of the old palaces and a few other buildings.

What a waste. It must have been magnificent.




      On the way from Hoi An to Hue, we made a stop at a place called Marble Mountain. This is the view from said mountain.    


    There was a really cool little temple up on Marble Mountain. Check out this shrine to the Buddha.      


I decided to spoil myself a little and got a hotel room in the big government owned hotel in the center of town. It was a beautiful old style hotel with a spiral staircase going up to the 2nd floor and the *huge* rooms with 12' high ceilings. Needless to say, I was very happy. My room was on the 2nd floor in the corner...the one with the varanda. Not bad for $20/night.



This is the inside of my room. It didn't take me long to mess it up.





It was such a nice day that I decided I'd walk the 3 miles from my hotel to The Citadel. To get there you have walk over the Perfume River on this bridge, and I stopped in the middle to take this shot. The Citadel is over by the tall flagpole, the tallest in VN.

  I didn't see very many remnants of the War, but I stumbled into this old temple hiden in a copse of trees just outside of the main gate of the Citadel. Note the bullet holes and gaping holes in the walls.


Here's one of the main gates into the walled city. All of the gates were basically destroyed during the fighting in January/February 1968 and it took the VN years to get all of them rebuilt.




Say what you will about the French experience in Vietnam, but their 150 year influence is unmistakable. Tree lined streets are the rule, as is the architecture of many of the older buildings. My hotel is a good example.


This is the famous flagpole on the inside of the walled city. During Tet-68 the North Vietnamese flag flew from this pole for 34 days and became a symbol of resistance for the NVA, and a symbol of failure for the US.



This is one of the palaces that was not destroyed in the fighting.


The Library building on the left is inside the Citadel. This structure is probably 800 years old.


This part of the Citadel on the right was flattened during the fighting, but the VNese have rebuilt some of the gates and some of the buildings.


All of the neighborhoods surrounding the Citadel were destroyed during the fighting, but they have been rebuilt. Note the moat.



As I said before, I spent a lot of time eating and taking it easy in Hue. A lot of the eating part took place in Coco's Restaurant, right around the corner from my hotel.

LOL here's Coco. She's from Up North, about 5 feet tall, and a bundle of energy. What a gal!

      Hue was as far north as I got on this trip. I was there for 5 days and when the time came to head back to Saigon it was much easier to fly than to spend two days on the train. Here's my plane on the ground at Phu Bai Airport, which was another important US airbase during the War, now used as Hue's airport.    


    Have a good appetite indeed!      


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