- Picture below is our view at night!
This morning we got up super early. The kids are suffering from jet-lag and so our days usually start around 4-5 a.m.! After showers and writing several post cards we headed out to our amazing breakfast buffet and then caught the Seoul City Bus Tour just a block from our hotel. The bus ride costs $10/person and is set up so that you can get on/off when you desire.
Our first stop was Changgyeongung Palace. It is the East Palace constructed in 1484 during the reign of King Sungjong to house three dowager queens. It has been destroyed and rebuilt several times.
We had the cutest tour guide today who would tell us about each area in the palace, and would then say about her latest discussion, “Please enjoy…”, and would then run off to see the next area. We practically had to run after her between each area of discussion and for the rest of the day the girls would say, “please enjoy such and such.”
- We found out the name of the dragon that I mentioned yesterday (cartoon character.) He is called Haechi. He is the symbol of Seoul and is everywhere! He is an imaginary creature and is the guarantor of justice.
- This pagoda is a remnant of the Japanese occupation. They had turned the Palace into a Zoo.
- Everywhere we went in Seoul we saw these groups of students and their ENTHUSIASTIC teachers! They were doing a great job teaching these kids!
- Changing of the guards at Changdeokgung.
- I originally took this photo for my friend Scott Bombardier! He visits Dunkin’ Donuts often and that is where I found these plastic food replicas in place of a menu. Little did I know that I would find these all over the place!
- More plastic food!
- Car dealerships are all inside!
- The Korean War Memorial is ENORMOUS! D.C. has nothing on its size and beauty! We had no idea that this existed and are so glad that we got off the bus to check it out! Cellista, your boys would have gone NUTS in here! It is Hill Air Force Base on steroids!
The following photo is the interior of the dome on the main building. It has a hole in the top and you can see the faint blue light radiating down to the bowl, which is a water fountain. Just stunning!
- Inside is a very large war history museum. The girls were fascinated and we spent more time here than anywhere else today.
- These are ancient ballistics. Da called them “ancient giant bottle rockets!” They would shoot them out of cannon type contraptions. Hard to believe that they had “missiles” in 1000 a.d.!
- We saw how these felt hats were made yesterday at the Folk History Museum.
- And yes, another class learning history!
- We were amazed at these printer plates. We also say MOVABLE TYPE from 1034 a.d. yesterday, forgot to mention that!
- These ships were fantastic! This one had spikes on top to keep anyone from boarding the ship. Tiny cannons were sticking out small windows all the way around.
- An original letter from General MacArthur.
- More of the memorial outside. It is a soldier holding another wounded soldier. This statue seems to be the favorite and it is replicated all over the place!
After leaving the memorial we intended to head home. We were hot and tired and our feet hurt. But, as the bus drove up the mountain and we began to see the views, we changed our minds!
At the top there is a deck where you can enjoy the view. All over the deck there are pad locks and note from lovers who hoped to “lock their love” for the eternities. There are 100s of thousands of locks.
- The large brown building is our hotel.
- Church steeples everywhere. (love)
- No peddlers at the tourist destinations. (also love)
- Seoul is HUGE. You never really feel like your in a “BIG city” until you stand on the hill and see it all!
- Chinese characters are used along side the Korean alphabet. The Korean alphabet is phonetic and is put together like a jig saw puzzle. Fascinating. In ancient days the educated and royals used Chinese characters, and the Korean alphabet was developed by one of the kings for the common people.
- Prosperity is everywhere! Capitalism is proving it is the best way to lift a people once again!