The title will become clearer during the post!
Once in Hue, we were immediately calmed by the atmosphere. Unlike Hanoi, there is a lot of green rice paddies surrounding the city and some of the roads are nearly empty! What was evident pretty quickly was that it might not stay that way forever. There was a lot of fancy villa style properties, as well as large apartment and hotel buildings being built everywhere. The next day our tour guide told us that a lot of the land is being bought by the government for good money, so of course, the farmers would sell. It’s a real shame that this lush greenery may not be there in the near future.
We checked into our accommodation which was unfortunately the worst to date. Not because it was dirty, not because it was small or old fashioned, not because of poor breakfast. All of this was amazing. It was the worst because it smelt very very damp. It didn’t bother Simon so much, but I could smell damp everywhere. The bending was damp, the curtains, everything. I think I figured out why, though. When we left the property every day they asked us to hand our keys in and they would switch off our electricity. This would turn off the fan, the air conditioner, everything that would dry out the wet room after our showers in the morning. It was a real shame because the property and the people were great. I was so grateful during this stay to have bought some silk sleeping bag liners in Hanoi. It’s like we had sensed the future.
That night we went on an I love Hue tour. I’m going to post a link to the tour here, because it was truly amazing. https://ilovehuetour.com/
We loved our food tour in Hanoi so thought we’d step it up a bit in Hue and do this one on the back of scooters, driven by ladies who worked for the company. We were a small group, only 4 of us, and we had the most fun with our guides. Simon was driven around by the CEO of the company Ms Lien and I had a lovely girl who was studying tourism at the local university called Thu. We chatted all the time we were on the scooter and not once did either Simon or I feel unsafe, despite the crazy driving around us.
Ms Lien has worked tirelessly, at the age of 23, to create a company which is supporting the local community. It is truly inspirational. Please read more about it on the link above and visit if you are ever in Hue or some of the other cities in Vietnam (she has branched out). Her aim is to have companies all around the World. It started with I love Hue, but may end with I love the World!
Our first stop was to a local only alleyway cafe where we tried a few different ‘cakes’. Now… these were not cakes (as in yum yum chocolate or carrot), but more snacks. The first one we had was pretty nice, it was a jelly like a blob made out of rice flour, with dried shrimps and a sweet sauce. The next one was a chewy jelly with a whole shrimp in it… no thank you and the last one was much along the same lines. They guides found it funny that I kept saying ‘This is NOT a cake’. These weren’t our favourites, unfortunately, but we gave them a go.
The next stop was to try another ‘cake’, but this one was absolutely delicious. You took some rice paper, put a crunchy ‘cake’ into it, snapped it, filled up the roll with lettuce, papaya, and carrot and dipped it in a yummy sauce. Everybody ate all of these as they were so tasty!!!
Throughout the rest of the tour, we drove past the imperial city and took in the atmosphere at night, we ate some Hue noodle soup which was much tastier than the pho we had in Hanoi, we had some Vietnamese BBQ and finally some sweet soup. Sweet soup, or Che Hue, is a dish only found in Hue. It’s hard to tell you exactly what’s in the soup, but it came in layers with ice and you mixed it all up to make a soup. There was definitely condensed milk, banana, different beans, coconut and tapioca in the soup. I think it was OK, Simon struggled with this one. We had a lovely evening and a really great introduction to the city of Hue on this tour and would recommend it to anyone.