Thursday, July 10, 2014

South Korea Part 4

Hello! I've wrapped up our first week in Korea. Our second week was mostly spent in Seoul bookended by weekends in Suwon. Week 2 was just as crazy a little less stressful and without as much traveling, so here is our first day in Seoul. Enjoy!

Crazy murals like this are painted all over the city, but surprisingly I didn't see any graffiti, just real art!

This is dak galbi- it's basically an entire chicken with glass noodles (new obsession), vegetables, and a lot of spice! It looks like a single serving but this was actually a massive bowl- there were four of us and we could barely finish it!

Making new friends in Hongdae. 

Our first full day in Seoul we ventured out to Deoksugung, one of the five main palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. The palace is smack dab in the middle of Seoul, across the street from city hall!

I love all the little figurines on top of the buildings- they remind me of the gargoyles in Paris. They are placed on the roof to ward off evil spirits. 

I told you it was in the middle of the city! But I love the mixing of old and new. 

What's that big European looking building? Let's investigate...

This is Seokjojeon, which means stone house. If it looks a little out of place, here's why: the building was designed by British architect G.R. Harding, but was used by the Japanese after their invasion and colonization of Korea in the early part of the 20th century. After Korean independence it was used for talks between Americans and Soviets, and eventually became the National Museum of Korea after the war. The building was under construction but I would love to visit the museum on my next trip. 

The garden in front of the stone house. 

"People are going to think we went to Europe!"

The yellow ribbons, which can be seen all over Korea, but particularly in Seoul, are to remember the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster. The sign on the older part of the city hall building (the newer half can be seen right behind it) reads, "We are sorry."

I wish we had something like this is the states! This is Cheonggyecheon; in 2003 the mayor of Seoul (who later become president) wanted to revamp the old stream that had run through the city and encourage more eco-friendly spaces. The result is this half-natural, half-man-made stream that runs through the city, where people can relax, hang out, or walk up and down. It's sort of like the High Line in New York.

This was our first full day in Seoul! That night we headed back to Suwon for the weekend, which you can expect on the blog tomorrow, so stay tuned!

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