Tuesday, October 23, 2018

So Seoul too

The next day it was off to the Gyeongbokgnung Palace.  I had not see this one last time I was in Seoul and was interested to see how it differed from Changdeokgung, which we were planning to visit tomorrow.  Heavily restored but interesting to wander about and watch the people dressed in National Costume.  There is a huge business in renting out national dress to tourists (and I presume a few locals) 

If you wear this costume you get free entrance to a number of historic sites.  You also get free entrance if you are over 64 and show them your NZ drivers licence!  Andrew is cheap to run on sightseeing, not so cheap with his fine food and wine needs!

The palace buildings were interesting and there was a touch of autumn colour starting to make its presence known. There were 2 museums in the place grounds that were well worth spending time in.  The best being the Museum of Folk Culture which was well laid out and had an interesting set of exhibits, including a very good temporary exhibits on International Salt research.  But we both took a photo of an acupressure doll exhibit, slightly random synchronicity
We went to a very popular restaurant nearby for a local specialty – Ginseng Chicken at Tosokchon Samgyetang.  A whole chicken (small chicken) is stuffed with glutinous rice, red dates, garlic, a chestnut and ginseng, in a milky coloured ginseng broth.  It is supposed to be very good for your health, probably much better than fried chicken anyway.  The flesh did just fall off the bone and we shared the experience with 400 of our closest friends in a very busy, slick operation.  There was a queue of 40 people behind us as we went in and just many still waiting when we came out.

After lunch we walked to the Seoul History Museum.  It wasn't very busy and free entry so when we spotted a lift we headed to the third floor following our normal routine of doing the floors and walking down the stairs.  On the 3rd floor we almost felt like we shouldn't be there as there were lights being replaced and lots of maintenance work happening.  But no one stopped us so we kept wandering.  When we got to the stairway we found it blocked off – it we had walked up the stairs we wouldn't have got to the 3rd floor – never mind we saw some interesting stuff.  The area on recent Korean history and in particular the redevelopment of Seoul post 1950 was particularly good.  It was noticeable that the negative aspects of redevelopment (sanitation, food shortages etc)were only presented in Korean not translated to English.

In the evening we headed to the Design Dongdaemun Plaza to look at the Zaha Hadid building which is particularly lovely illuminated at night
Our final day was staying in our neighbourhood and going to the nearby Changdeokgung, particulalry for the Garden which can only be access by going on a tour.  To make sure we got on the 10:30am tour we arrived before 9:00am to get one of 50 tickets available.  Andrew’s senior discount was extended to me, so our entry tickets were a bargain!  We walked around the nearby traditional area.  One nice characteristic was the photos displayed in front of the stores of the people who the stores belonged to, creating a feeling of reality, in a highly touristed area.

We struck it lucky with the tour, because they said we could self-guide if we didn't want to trail the guide.  Andrew and I headed off and it was delightful not to be walking with a big group.  The autumnal colours were even more evident here.
Then off for a final dumpling experience before on the train and back to the airport. 

And to finish a couple from the Andrew-Files. Left – is this woman mimicking Andrew? Right this Andrew glaring at dithering women at Breakfast.  Note the agitated hands and frustration simply pouring off him Smile

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