Thursday, June 27, 2013

Korean Walk-About

Following breakfast at our hotel, our 40 member group went into central Seoul by subway (or metro or tube or underground or whatever else they call it in your neck of the woods).  We emerged just off of the central mall/park area that runs through the middle of Seoul.  We were greeted by a statue of King Sejung who is most well known to Koreans for being the one to create Hangul, or the characters for the Korean alphabet (imagine if Sequoya of Cherokee syllabary fame was also the tribe's chief).  After a few pictures, most of us ventured downstairs (below the park) to explore a museum to the Story of King Sejung.

Finishing with the statue/museum, we continued walking, passing by the United States Embassy, heading through the mall toward Gyeongbokgung Palace.  We arrived just in time for the changing of the guard.  I wasn't too upset that we did not tour this palace; I was able to tour the grounds on my first trip to Seoul in 2009.

We then ventured a little way just to the side of the palace grounds to the Korean Folk History Museum.  While I have also visited this museum, I did take advantage of the air-conditioning opportunity by taking a quick stroll through the museum.

"snake" at the zodiac statue plaza
1977, the year of the snake

Our walk through the city continued behind the palace to the home of South Korea's president: Cheongwadae or "the Blue House".

We then stroled to a couple of streets away to a cute little shopping district with small restaurants for lunch.  Our large group split up in to smaller groups so as not to overwhelm any one restaurant.  My group went to Spice+.  For our group of seven, we ordered two sets of the tteokbokki: rice cake, noodles, egg, onions, fish, and beef bulgogi.  Two gas powered stoves were set on our table and pots filled with the tteokbokki ingredients were placed on the stoves so as to cook our meal.  We were responsible for stiring and determining when it was "ready" and then eating...WOW.  Yum!!

Following lunch we made our way back to the hotel so as to rest and prepare for our formal opening dinner tonight at our hotel.  It's fancy dress so I'll be ironing my duds in a moment and heading upstairs.

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