23rd of August – Visiting royal tombs
The girl who took me on the boat trip came for me in the early morning and we went to see the royal tombs. We visited the Khai Dinh and Tu Duc tomb, the two most representative ones. Previously I have visited The Imperial city and Thien Mu pagoda, the other two must-see places if you are interested in history of Vietnam.
We started with Khai Dinh tomb as the area wasn’t big but later the day it would be extremely hot. It really didn’t have a lot. Only the royal building in memory of the king before the huge land area in the back. There were statue of the officers in the front who greeted the king.
In reality that one was just a mausoleum of the king. No one knew where exactly he was buried. That time due to fights for the throne when the king died no one could know about it. The king was buried secretly. People who buried him had to die as well, since the location and the news couldn’t be figured out.
The mausoleum was spectacular though. It was hard to believe how they could build up a massive and durable building in the era where everything had to be done by hand. No machine. Also the location was well-chosen. It was far from the city near the nature. By motorbike it took at least 30-45 minutes. It is said that the servant already looked for and started to build the mausoleum when the king just got on the throne. They were already prepared where to bury the king when he just started to rule the country.
Then we moved to Tu Duc royal tomb. This one was much bigger. It even had lake and more building. They also made a tomb that looked like the king was buried there. Of course it was just a symbol. No one knew exactly where the king was buried. The area was much bigger. Due to the previous day trekking it was hard for me to walk a lot. Moreover the weather started to become intolerable.
The entrace to each tomb was 100.000 VND. If you are citizens of Hue you might enter free of charge. But they don’t have this discount everytime though. After looking around the tombs, the girl took me to eat vegetarian food. To be honest after almost 3 weeks of eating vegetarian food I cannot eat any meat more.
The traditional Thanh Toan bridge in the countryside
Then she took me to see the rice field. But unfortunately it was already harvested. We went to see a representative traditionally structured bridge, Thanh Toàn bridge (Cau ngoi Thanh Toan), that was built for people to cross the river. It was the first bridge in the area which was far from the city. It was built to become a resting place as well which meant people could even lie down there. The bridge retains many historical and cultural values. If you want to know more click here for the English one and here for the Vietnamese one. As the weather was hot and it didn’t rain for a long time, the river was totally dried. Nearby was a market. On the way people spreaded harvested yellow crops on the street to dry it. I really wondered how they could do that as motorcyclist could just go through it. But as far as I have seen, people all avoided it.
I asked her to drop me off at the bookshop where I bought another books about Vietnamese history. I have to say books in Vietnam are really cheap. 4 books cost 20 USD. Then I called Grab to go home.
Theory vs Practice
In the evening the female master talked to me and we had a talk about Buddhism, people. I wondered if Buddhism could change people life as I didn’t understand how come Vietnam has so many temple but the country can hardly change in terms of behaviour and environment. The master told me that people knew the theory but they didn’t put it in practice. She was right. There are so many things we know how to talk about it, but when it comes to practice, no one can do it. The main part of every studies is the practice. If you cannot do what you say or use what you learn, then it’s just a waste of time to read the book and gather many knowledge. We need to learn how to use the knowledge we have.
Then the big master came and took me to have a tea somewhere near the Perfume river.
My journey ended with the next day.
24th of August – Time to say goodbye Hue
In the morning the taxi driver took me to the airport. I flew back to Hanoi. Going out I couldn’t find the bus number 90 so I got on a bus of Vietjet. I didn’t know where it took me. But then I ended up in Hanoi railway station. I called the Goviet to go to my aunt’s house. We went to visit grandmother. Then I was preparing for the next day to leave for Ha Long, the place that I had on my bucket list for years.