Saturday, February 18, 2017

Day 1 in Seoul Korea

Well. After getting a day at sea to rest up from 4 days in Japan, we eagerly anticipated our two port stop in Korea. First would be a day in Incheon, which is the 3rd largest city in South Korea and also the gateway to the capital city of Seoul, an hour's drive away.

Our second port was to be Jeju, an island that is popular for vacationers. However, high winds and horrible docking conditions resulted in our abandoning Jeju. The captain did manage to appease us by turning our one day Seoul stop into a 2 1/2 day overnight. Yippee!

16 of us had arranged a private tour of Seoul today so once off the ship we got into the cute little bus and were off!

It's been a very full day. As I write and post this, we are in the bus on our way back to the ship. Its 5:30 PM and we've been on the tour since 9:00 AM. We've seen a lot today.

We started by driving by Gwanghwamun Square and the Blue House which is the President's office. Then we stopped and visited Gyeongbokgung Palace which is the biggest and royal authentic palace of the Joseon dynasty. Inside the palace grounds is the National Folk Museum, a really interesting place! Our guide told us all about traditional Korean family culture, from birth to marriage to death.

Traffic is very busy here in the capital
city. There was also a large police presence today because protestors were scheduled to march to ask for the impeachment of their current president.

Next we visited the headquarters for the Buddhist temple, called Jogyesa.
Afterwards we enjoyed a terrific Korean BBQ lunch complete with one of my new favorite foods - kimchi. It's fermented cabbage laced with chili spices. Spicy and delish!

After lunch we went to a traditional village called Namsangol Hanoi Village. We could see the way Koreans lived life many years ago. I was especially interested in the kimchi pots and the grass "teepee" that it was stored in to keep it from freezing.

Following this, we walked through an incredible market where the sights and smells of all kinds of traditional Korean foods and delicacies were in full view. Amazing! Until I saw the head of a PIG. OMG thank God I had left Snort in the car. It would have absolutely done the poor boy in.

Our last stop of the afternoon was way atop the city where we had nearly a 360 degree view. Very cool.

I've included some pictures of young teens in traditional dress. This is a newish trend where the kids rent the clothes and dress up and go about town, taking hundreds of selfies and group pictures. They were happy to let us photograph them too.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to be able to get a tour out to see the DMZ up by the North Korean border. There was a ship tour today but since tomorrow was a last minute addition I'm not sure if we'll get a chance to run a tour today. If not I will take the shuttle into Incheon tomorrow and have a wander.

Oh, one last thing - there are tons of coffee places in Seoul. I posted pics of some of my favorites that we passed by.

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