The Perfume River

Saturday 5th MarchRest Day: 0 km, a sightseeing day.

Today we explored Huê – an ancient citadel on the banks of the Perfume River where the Vietnamese Emperors lived with their concubines until 1954. Before we left home I read a book I would highly recommend called ‘Daughters of the River Huong’. It painted a picture of Vietnam over several hundreds of years, exploring history through the eyes of successive daughters. They lived in Huê and so I was intrigued. Sadly, much of the ancient city has been destroyed by wars or earthquakes but enough remained for the imagination to fill the deficit. There is a strong sense of tranquility and some rare quietness among the walled gardens and palace rooms. It’s a big contrast with the incessant clatter outside. A contrast probably experienced by the characters in my book.

UNESCO and international conservation teams are doing their best to re-build where they can. In the meantime, the gardens, ponds and moats are very pleasant places to stroll and drink coffee. 

It wasn’t much of a rest day by the time we had walked concentric squares inside the 2.5km long walls!


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