|We arrived a few hours late to Hue very tired since the very small bunks, the jolting train car and bumpy ride made sleeping almost impossible! Everyone was so tired. Hue was once Vietnam's Imperial City. Much of Hue, the walled Citadel and the Imperial City was destroyed during the French and American wars. A bus took us to our hotel, Asia Hotel but the rooms were not ready. So Paul & I walked down to Perfume River and saw dragon boats, house boats and long tail vessels dredging for sand. We walked through a park along the river looking at some very interesting artwork. There were many students sitting around and studying. Once everyone had a chance to book in, shower and eat we were off to lots of sight seeing. First we visited the Imperial City. It was built in 1804 and has 3 walled enclosures. The first is the Exterior Exclosure or Citadel. Within that is the Yellow Enclosure or Imperial City. And within that in the very centre was the Forbidden Purple City where the emperor lived along with his concubines. The outer wall has 10 gates and a moat that surrounds it. We went through the main entrance, the Noon Gate. Just outside it was the Flag Tower which was built in 1807 and is a national symbol. Next, we visited Thien Mu Pagoda which was built on the banks of the Perfume River in 1601. Just before it is the Phuoc Dien Tower that was added in 1864. Each of its 7 tiers is dedicated to the 7 steps to Buddha's enlightenment. Beside the tower, a building houses a 2-ton bell. At the back of the temple, there is a complex of monastic buildings where the monks live. After that we visited the Tomb of Tu Duc which was built before he died. Tu Duc was the longest reigning emperor from 1848-1883. Even though he had 104 wives, he had no heirs since he became sterile after having the mumps. He used this tomb area while he was living as a recreational area. There was a pavilion on the grounds beside a lake where he fished, listened to music and wrote poetry. After such a busy afternoon, we all had dinner together and went to bed early. We were so exhausted!