Hue was just a short bus ride away. We passed a semi-truck loaded with cages full of dogs - likely being shipped north for slaughter. We stopped for lunch, and paid an outrageous price for our instant coffees, and watched a local woman poke a caged bird with a large stick to make it squawk in hopes of amusing her little son, and did she ever succeed on both accounts. It's a cultural thing we told ourselves.
Hue felt like a big city as compared to the quaint little Hoi An. It was a dreary day. We were swamped by a number of local hotel employees all trying to make us follow them this way or that the instant we stepped off the bus. We quickly assembled our bikes hoping we could make a clean getaway. We were followed, and harassed for quite some time before they got bored of trying.
We discovered Hue on our second day there, after visiting the Citadel and Royal Abodes. It wasn't so much the Citadel that made us think differently, but we immersed ourselves in the city's ambiance with its little streets, alleys and colourful traffic. We quite liked it by the end of the day. Despite there being some restaurants and travel businesses designed with foreigners in mind, the city itself doesn't especially cater to travelers. It is a true Vietnamese town, with many local cafes and shops, as well as a large local market.