12.16.2012

The Soul of Seoul: Halue Duse (Day 2)

The second day in Korea was my "subway adventure" day. I did some research before I left, wrote everything down, and mapped it all out. Mark was off to work so I was on my own. It was a little easier in Tokyo because I could still use my cell phone, but in Korea I could only use it if I had wifi. This all meant that if I got lost, I was on my own to find my way back home, which is why I was so prepared before leaving.


First up was Namdaemun Market. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I read that it was a good place to buy gifts for your family and souvenirs. It was pretty awesome! Endless streets of stores and shops with everything you can imagine. I was still nervous to buy anything because I knew I still had some other shopping places that I wanted to go so I mostly browsed. However, looking back, I wish I would have bought things here because it was the best market that I went to throughout the trip.

This photo makes it look totally sketch, but apparently there's a "gate" into the market. I just got off the subway in the middle of it all, so I never saw it.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters, shoes galore, adorable baby clothes, and... ummm butt undies??

I also liked the market because it was kind of contemporary meets old school. It was in the city and there was all of the hustle and bustle, but then there were men and women delivering lunches by carrying them on their heads. I was fascinated by it, actually! 


After I left, I knew that there was a palace close by. It's called the Gyeongbokgung Palace, which translates to "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven." It was beautiful! Everything was wooden and had been hand-painted, which I found amazing in and of itself. Across the street was the city so it was neat to see a palace in the middle of tall building.


It was snowing when I got there so I couldn't really read the brochure as I went through because my hands were required to be in my pockets to avoid freezing to death. Ha! I did read it on the subway on my way home and it's a pretty awesome place! It was built in 1395... isn't that amazing?! It was the main palace for more than 500 years so it makes since why it's right in the middle of everything in present day Sejongno. 


The hand-painted roofs and interior were breathtaking
Unfortunately, during the Japanese occupation, most of the palace was demolished so that the Japanese could build there Government-General building. The good news is that since 1990, South Korea has been working to restore it to its original form and in 1996 the Government-General building was removed from the front of the palace.

Gwanghwamun Gate 
Inside the Geunjeongjeon (main throne hall). The name means, "all affairs will be properally managed if Your Majesty demonstrate diligence." ... more on the long meaning of words a little later.


I read that Koreans often chose where their villages would be based on the mountains and rivers. They would plan to have the mountain to the back to block the wind in the winter and a river in front to help with irrigation. Well, Gyeongbokgung got the mountain part right!

Mount Bugaksan right out the back door.
This place was GIGANTIC. I don't even think I saw all of it. Right when I thought I was all the way in the back or to the far left or right, it would turn another corner. However, I was pleased to find The National Folk Museum of Korea towards the back and welcomed the (heated) building with open arms!


I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food, but I knew Mark would give me the, "Are you serious?!" face if I told him I just had a burger and fries for lunch. So, when it doubt do as the locals do... I ordered a galbi patty sandwich. This is blog worthy because I'm pretty dang picky! However, I was starving so I had no choice but to eat it. It wasn't bad... it actually tasted like chicken but looked a little like Spam? That's my best description. Who's surprised that I didn't take a picture? This girl! According to Wikipedia, it's typically beef or pork marinated in a Korean soy sauce. Hmm, whatevs. 

I enjoyed my sandwich, often questioning what it was, and got a hot chocolate. I thought it was going to be awesome to walk around, sipping hot chocolate, and learning about Korea. Then, I saw the sign that said I couldn't take it with me. Whomp whomp! So, AFTER I finished it, this is what I saw...

All of the almanacs. I think the present day one is the long one in the middle. They go off of a 15-day "month" so they have 24 periods opposed to our 12.



Something hilarious about the museum was the descriptions of everything. At first, I was all "cool, moving on..." and then I read one description... then another. Oh, was I in for a treat! For example, the picture directly above this was accompanied by a description about the importance of napping.

"After finishing the process of gimmaegi, farming can be slow until harvesting in autumn. In summer, ordinary Korean people took a nap in the shad to escape the summer heat. Inside their houses, Koreans hung bamboo blind and took a nap on a bamboo bench-bed to escapt the heat...." 

The caption for the photo above the bamboo bed was hilarious because of the meaning of the one, simple-looking word written.

"... The Korean word cheollyeop means fishing in a river and having a good time and picnicking on a hot sunny day...."

Hilarious!!

All different types of Kimchi, a Korean side dish made of fermented veggies in a spicy seasoning. 

A traditional tomb

On the second night in Seoul, Mark and I went to the Cheonggyecheon Stream for a stroll. When Seoul started concentrating on tourism, this was one of the first places that they gave a face lift. It sits under the city so it's really quiet. The romantic city even suggests enjoying a bottle of wine has you walk up and down the path. It was too cold for wine, but I had my favorite cup of hot chocolate here: cinnamon chocolate. Delish!



Mark trying not to fall. 

Mark trying to fall. JK, but seriously... he somehow convinced me to walk across these ice covered rocks THROUGH the stream!?

1 comment :

  1. go back and buy me that red reindeer sweater, i lovvvveeee it.

    ReplyDelete

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