On our second day in Hue we awoke to heavy rain and weren’t sure if we would be up to seeing the imperial sites in a downpour. So we took our time getting ready and by the time we were ready to head out for the day it miraculously stopped raining.
We walked down to the dock area and caught one of the numerous boats for an hour-long ride up the famous Perfume River.The boat ride was a highlight in itself. To see life along the river was fascinating and we couldn’t take pictures fast enough. We soon cruised up to the Thien Mu Pagoda, the tower eight level structure represents the steps to Nirvana. We headed further upriver and soon came to an embankment and was told this is where we get off to walk towards the ancient resident and shrine of Emperor Duc Tu. If Anne didn’t speak Vietnamese we definitely would have hesitated.We realized it was a 15 minute walk through a rural village, which was beautiful and fascinating. We especially liked how each house had its own spirit houses out front for ancestors to be honored and welcomed home anytime. The Vietnamese have a wonderful traditional of having their dearly departed close by whenever they want to speak to them or just miss them, it's very comforting. Some were just simple wooden houses, but some were ornate and decorative.
After exploring the compound for hours in the rain we realized there was a driver we had arranged to pick us up waiting and suggested we see a temple that was on the way back to town. Again we found ourselves the only people there and the rain and gray weather added to the beauty and serenity of the temple compounds.
After our day of exploring the ancient and serene history and culture of Vietnam we wanted to continue that experience with some similarly inspired food. We decided to go to a “Hue Specialties” buffet at the Imperial Hotel. Again we love buffets! This proved to be an excellent one. There was a traditional salad selection, which we started with. We agreed the banana flower salad was the best, but it was a difficult call since there were over 9 to choose from. There was a cold seafood selection, with a fancy ice sculpture and everything.