Wednesday, July 2, 2014

South Korea Part 1

Hello!! Sorry for the radio silence the past few weeks but I am finally home from my adventures in South Korea!!! This trip was AMAZING and it is going to be hard to put into words, but you can expect lots of photos! I had no time/energy to blog during my trip so I'm going to be slowly posting over the next couple of days, along with a few non-Korea posts so get ready!

So, after a very long flight to Korea I finally landed at Incheon, where Lydia whisked me off to Suwon, a "suburb" about half an hour from Seoul that is a bustling city all its own. Friday night was mostly spent unpacking along with a walk around Suwon's lake park in order to keep me awake long enough to catch up to Korean time.

Jet lag had both of us wide awake at 6 am, and after a long walk around the lake we headed out to lunch. I had never had Korean food before so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

We had a full, traditional Korean meal, where they cooked the meat right at our table (this is a big thing in Korea, at least half of our meals were made in front of us)! There are a few big holes in the table, and a guy comes in with massive tongs holding red-hot coals. They then place a grate over the coals, throw on your meat, and cook it right there, passing plates as you go along. The important thing to remember is to grab the meat quick, as it will either be gobbled up by your companions or burned on the grill!

Along with beef, we had about 12573230 side dishes, including rice, rice noodles (or glass noodles, for Americans), two different kinds of soup, and various kinds of vegetables.

It. Was. Amazing.

I am officially obsessed with Korean food now!! If anyone has any recommendations for great Korean restaurants in either Dallas or New York please send them my way! I'm going through kimchi and bibimbap withdrawals...

After lunch we headed out to the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace, an old palace built in 1789. Much of the palace was destroyed during the Japanese occupation in the early 20th century but was recently restored. You can read more about the palace and its history here.

"All my pictures from Korea end up being in doorways." 

Pretty much every palace/temple/historical site we visited has beautiful, detailed ceilings painted like this. I can't imagine the time and effort it took to make such amazing work but it makes the visit even more worthwhile. 

Sorry for the horrible picture but I couldn't get a good angle- anyway this is a huge golden Buddha on top of the hill behind the palace. We didn't have time to climb up and see this one (that comes in Gyeongju...)

After the palace we took a peek across the street at this giant bell (we tried to ring it but it was secured, probably so silly Americans like us don't try!). 

Look at that detail on the ceilings!

We then headed down the street to Namun market, an old-school outdoor market that sold everything from pigs' heads to chilies to live fish. 

Part of the old Suwon city wall. 

If you think this looks fun, just wait until we get to Busan and the Jagalchi fish market! But that comes later...

In just over two weeks, we went to Suwon, Daejon, Daegu, Gyeongju, Busan, Seoul, and Panmunjom! Whew, I know. We often were in two cities within a day and I'm exhausted but it was 100% worth it!

To avoid confusion, I've marked every city we visited in Korea on this handy little Google map. Suwon is the little marker underneath Seoul, the marker in the middle without a name is Oak Valley resort, and the marker wayyy up on the North Korean border is Panmunjom.

Sorry to be so photo-heavy, but I took a million pictures on this trip and probably didn't capture half of what I was lucky enough to see. Remember, this was just Day One, so stay tuned for the rest of my adventures in Korea!

No comments:

Post a Comment