Sunday, August 4, 2013

Summer Vacation Part 1- Shopping, Bukchon Village, Palace and Museum

We only get two weeks of vacation per year so I just had my vacation.  I stayed in Seoul and visited everywhere that I could so I could get a better feel for the city.  
On Sunday, July 28, I visited the COEX shopping center.  It is a huge shopping mall underground.  They have a whole bunch of shops and a huge Hyundai Department Store that sells anything you would ever need.  



Expensive groceries

Massive octopus tentacles....

....along with assorted dried fish.

And yummy looking rice thingies!

On Monday, I went to go visit Changdeokgung Palace but it was closed, as are most things on Monday.  I found that out the hard way.  But I was close to the Bukchon Village area, which "is a residential area, so quiet sightseeing is essential."  It was a nice place to walk around.

The next day, I returned to the palace and took a couple of tours.  This first one is through "The Secret Garden," which was very pretty.  It is odd that a huge palace with a massive garden is located practically in the middle of a huge urban area.
Entrance to the palace

This was my guide for Garden and Palace tours.

Standing on a wood floor that is 400 years old.

This is where they built fires to heat the rooms.  It would circulate through the floor.  They still use heated floors now but I think it is hot water pipes that run underneath the floor.  Smart, really because it keeps your feet warm and hot air rises!

Standing on a bridge that is 600 years old.

This is the building with the throne room.

These stones lined both sides and marked who should stand where based upon ranking when the king came through.

The throne.

Very colorful painting.  I think that circular pillars are only used for royalty.  All others should be square.

An adorable chipmunk stuffing its cheeks.

The palace tour took most of the day, but I went to visit the National History Museum of Korea, which only opened in 2005.  But admission is free, like at all good museums!!  I didn't have much time there so I returned on Saturday and took a tour.  I had a funny little guide lady.  She was very short but walked extremely fast.  The only problem was that she didn't speak loudly enough.  Methinks she is a volunteer....
There are some really neat things there.  Asian culture is so old that it makes America seem like a newborn baby.
This is the nice entrance area

I like this hand-less Korean Buddha because he looks so happy!

Ten story stone pagoda that took about ten years to renovate.

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