It was to be a 12 hour overnite train journey from Hanoi to Hue; the last Imperial Capital of Vietnam. Not sure where the delay occurred, but we arrived an hour later than scheduled - not a problem, another hour to sleep. We still arrive into Hue at 09:00. The Taxi Hawkers descended upon mass right at the trackside. The first guy says 150,000 dong - now firstly, which I've not really addressed yet, is Vietnamese currency. There are approximately 23,000 dong to a dollar; nope, no extra 0's. So one must start to think of being very rich in order to begin to negotiate a 5 minute taxi ride for 150,000 monetary units. Actually you just get dialed into 100,000 is 4 dollars. So back to the taxi hawker. I knew the ride was 5 minutes away, and based on previous taxi rides in various cities should cost 50,000 or so. So we told him his price was WAY TOO high and kept walking towards the station exit. His price now starts to decline as other drivers begin to appear in the parking lot area. Continuing to ignore him now we are approached by a pleasant looking young man whom we ask "how much to such & such hotel". He states 50,000, we say OK, the 150,000 guy looks on in dismay, and upon arriving to the hotel in 5 minutes I give our driver an extra 20,000, much to his displayed pleasure; mind you that 20k was less than a dollar.
Once again the hotel was gracious to let us check-in early, and so we could shower and begin exploring the city refreshed. There is a lot to see in Hue, but first we asked the hotel staff where some good local restaurants were, and proceeded there. Did not find a good restaurant but did meet a nice young man at a travel agency. He convinced us that scheduling a private driver to take us to the main 'sights-to-be-seen' in Hue would be the most efficient & cost-effective method. That is scheduled for tomorrow.
Today we visited the Imperial City Citadel on our own. Spent the whole afternoon there and were able to visit maybe 50% of the extensive site - never mind the outlying sections. Numerous gates, temples, pavillions, living quarters, gardens, ponds, etc.
Hue has a nice vibe. Looking forward to exploring more tomorrow.
Ciao for now