On Tuesday morning, Laurie and I took the train three stops to Seoul Station. We wanted to catch the Seoul City Bus for a tour around the city. We had a little time before it arrived so we stopped for a cup of coffee and a sweet snack. Check out the name of the cafe – Ding Dong. We thought the sweet snack was filled with blueberries and cream. I think it was red bean paste and cream. Nonetheless, the cream made it tasty.
We sipped our coffee and enjoyed a walk across the brand new Seoul city sky walk known as Seoullo 7017. The Seoullo 7017 is pedestrian walkway designed to reduce pedestrian crossings in the busy city center. The Seoullo 7017 was decorated with beautiful flower planters. The honeysuckle planter was my favorite. It smelled like America in the summer.
In this picture, you can see one of the main city gates that is part of the Seoul wall.
We hopped on the Seoul City bus shortly after 10am at the Seoul Station, stop number 4. We road the bus around the city until stop 21 – Gyeongbokgung Palace. We were able to use the headphones provided to hear an English version of the tour.
Before visiting the Palace, we decided to enjoy lunch. We walked down a side alley and stopped at a cute cafe with what seemed to be Italian cuisine. We were told we needed reservations. We continued on our way along the alley and came to a small restaurant serving traditional Korea food. One of the owners was standing on the corner in her apron. She waved for us to come to her restaurant and we did. As we followed her up the steps she turned around and said, “food delicious.” She wasn’t kidding! It was very delicious! First, she brought us lots of condiments and soup. From left to right, top to bottom, we had: candied green onions, kimchi cabbage centers, mushrooms, broccoli with spicy sauce, and kimchi.
A short time later, she brought out the fish Laurie ordered and the bulgogi I ordered. In South Korea, it is common to share dishes. So, even though we each ordered separate dishes, they were placed so we could share. Which we happily did!
After lunch we walked back to the Palace. At the entrance were ceremonial guards and many visitors wearing traditional dress known as Hanbok. Laurie let me in on the secret – if you rent a hanbok from a local vendor, you receive free admission to the palace. We decided to skip the dress and look like two traditional American tourists.
The Palace is the former main palace of the Joseon dynasty. It was built in 1395 and destroyed during the Japanese invasions between 1592-1598. The buildings were restored during the reign of King Goyong (1852-1919). The palace is the most popular palace because of its large size and beauty. We enjoyed a leisurely afternoon walking around the grounds.
I still enjoy seeing the beautiful painting and details of the Korean structures.
My favorite painting was the painting of the five mountains of Seoul. The painting also includes the sun and the moon, representing the king and queen.
There were numerous buildings throughout the palace grounds and they were so elaborate. The first few pictures are where the king would preside over the court.
Our exploring took us all around the grounds. As it started raining, we made our way towards the exit and to the closest train station. By the time we made it home, the rain was coming down pretty hard. Making it the perfect evening to relax at home in the middle of the city.