Wednesday, December 4, 2013 3

        To say it's been non stop running on this tour would be a vast understatement. I find myself falling behind on this blog, but will try to recover. So at this point I am trying to remember 2 days ago when I have seen and done so much in the last few days. The good thing about doing a whirlwind tour is I am truly seeing the whole country, whereas I set up camp in Bangkok and never got to see the real Thailand. So we kept began in the north and are working quickly south.

 So the exact itinerary for the next part of our excursion is as follows:
"Tonight we board our overnight sleeper train (4 berth sleeper cabin, basic stanard) operating on the ‘Reunification Express’ railway line to Hue. Overnight - Sleeper Train"

      Our guide told us that it was a "special" train, as he laughed with his contagious laugh. He told us this often, laughing each time. So we braced for the worst. We got to the train and after checking the trip schedule and doing a little math; we realized that we would be on this train for 12-14 hours. Oh boy!

    I shared the tiny cabin with 3 other men, and to say it was cramped was a understatement of epic proportion. This is by no means a bullet train, it just pushes along through the countryside and city; stopping fairly often, and not smoothly when it did. Our tour guide brought some snacks and an assortment of alcohol, to help people sleep well he said. The guys in my cabin all turned in early; so I did as well; trying to find a little bit of comfort and sleep on my "prison" mattress. We made it to our destination in the morning and grumbled as we got off sore and not really well rested. Next on the agenda:

Day 4: Imperial Hue
Upon arrival to Hue we embark on a guided sightseeing tour of the 19th-century Nguyen empire capital. We visit the Thien Mu Pagoda, home to the oldest monastery in the city and the citadel. Within the citadel is the Imperial Purple Palace, an exact copy of the Forbidden City in Beijing, with its impressive ramparts, formal moats and imperial palaces, some of which lay in ruin.

    Hue (pronounced "Way" was different than what I had seen so far in Vietnam, it was damp; more as I had imagined in my mind's eye when I thought of Vietnam. In the interest of brevity and so I can catch up I will share some pictures and close this installment. 

         This city was the kings palace, and upon his death became his; along with his family's final resting place. And interesting story that goes along with it is that when he died 100 men took him up on the mountain which was surrounded by a wall a gate. They buried him and upon there return were all killed. They knew this before hand, but also knew there families would be compensated and taken care of by the government. It was a sacrifice for their family and for their honor.

          We took a river cruise back to the hotel and stopped to see one more pagoda, ending our day in Hue.

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