Wednesday, August 29, 2012

01 August: Hue

Shew. Worst overnight on a train ever. And you *know* how many nights I've spent sleeping on a train in the last 2 years!

Anyway, it started out okay but, the train was seriously rocky. It meant we were literally sliding up and down in our bunks, from head to toe. It makes it pretty impossible to sleep. Add to that a snoring Frenchman on the bunk opposite me (I was on the bottom bunk and The Trucker was above me) and I was not a happy traveler.

I figured out I could stay stable if I slept on my stomach (which is my least favourite sleeping position) and thankfully he seemed to only snore when we were stopped at stations. Guess there was an upside to the side-to-side rocking :P

So yes, at least I did manage some sleep. But it was very broken with plenty of tossing and turning as parts of my body hurt from a barely there mattress. And The Trucker seemed to get even less sleep than I did.

I enjoyed the morning scenery. Their graveyards (I assume that's what they are) seem fascinating. And we saw plenty of them from the railway line (and thruout our trip).

We arrived in Hue at about 10am and easily caught a taxi to The Gold Hotel where we're staying. Another good hotel room :) Well, after an initial room-change because I flooded the first one's bathroom during my shower. Great view from the 11th floor!

Travel Planning tip: We booked all our Vietnam and Cambodia accommodation thru Agoda and I would definitely use them again when planning my own overseas accommodation.

Around midday we rented a scooter and set off to explore Hue. First stop was lunch at the Mandarin Cafe. It was delish. We ordered a variety of starter-type meals: spring rolls, Banh Khoai and some other roll-your-own rice-paper pork things.

After we had eaten, we hopped back on the scooter and went to check out the Citadel. Which was kinda interesting but not amazing. Maybe because I was in China last year or maybe because they are very obviously in the process of restoring it. It is vast tho and I'm sure we didn't come close to seeing all of it. But we saw enough.

Then we decided to just ride around Hue. We headed off into very un-touristy areas and then proceeded to run out of petrol ... Luckily it seems you don't really need to know where the petrol stations are (they all seem to be on the outskirts of town right next to each other?) because we asked a man riding a scooter where we could get some and he directed us to an old lady's house-front store where she measured out a litre for us. Bizarre, but I spose they buy in bulk for themselves and their vast bike-usage.

We went and wandered the Dong Ba market too. Not at all touristy and a bit of an assault on the senses. Nope, haven't bought a thing here yet.

After that we filled up at a regular petrol station. In case you were wondering, you seem to get the bikes you rent on next to empty and you have to put in fuel. I thought with rental cars (never having used one myself) that you received a full tank and you made sure you filled it again before you returned it? Regardless, we'd now learnt our lesson.

We went and grabbed our cozzies from the hotel and rode the 14km to the Thuan An Beach. What an awesome way to spend and afternoon. We enjoyed the water and didn't see a single other tourist there and there were very few people at the beach generally.

When we got back to the hotel we had a swim in their pool then relaxed for a bit before going for a sundowner on their 12th floor bar. Bit of a let-down after the cocktails on the Halong Bay cruise!

Then we took the scooter out again to find some dinner. After a quick search on Google we decided on a place called Nina's. We did struggle to find it, it's down 2 side roads from the road it says it's on! Again we chose a variety of food to share. It was okay, by no means even nearly the best meal of the trip. But the place is quite cute.

We found a night market along the river after that and stopped and wandered before stopping for a drink. I had a lemon juice and it is my new favourite thing! Love it. Which I guess makes a lot of sense since my current favourite fruit juice at home is Sir Juice's Lemonade.

Then it was back to the hotel for us. Here's to catching up on some sleep and resting our bums before our "Top Gear" motorbike tour tomorrow :) Yay.

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