Monday, March 15, 2010

Trip to Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea - Jan 30th 2010

Sleep in this morning. The Boy had had two early mornings and late nights in a row so it wasn't a bad idea. After breakfast with Keiko we walked over to Gyeongbokgung, one of the main palaces in Seould and just across the road from the Somerset Palace Hotel. We arrived just in time to see a Joseon dynasty changing of the guard. The Koreans are very foreigner friendly as the ceremony, as with the underground, had announcements made in Korean, English, Japanese and Mandarin. On the underground you leave one station and they have to start announcing the next station almost straight away the announcement takes that long.

Funny thing happened at the palace - the guy that I borrowed the map from last night noticed me and said hello. He was glad to see that I made it to the hotel safely. All up we spent about an hour in the palace compound. I can't say that it would have been the most comfortable place in winter but at least they had heating beneath the rooms. And then we went our separate way - the girls went shopping and we boys went to N Seoul Tower on Namsan.

Guards at front of Gyeongbokgung entrance.

Changing of the guards ceremony at Gyeongbokgung.

Main hall at Gyeongbokgung.

Love the eaves.

And how many kan long is this, I wonder?

Frozen lake at pavillion.


Inside one of the main buildings.

So many buildings inside the palace walls.

Chimney and gate.


Who is photographing who?

Plenty of eaves work. Never be out of work in this trade.

Main gate at Gyeongbokgung.

From Beotigogae Station the map said it was 400m to N Seoul Tower. We must have walked the wrong way out of the subway as we had travelled about 1km and we still had a long way to go. Caught a bus which turned out to be a good decision as it was still 2km to the tower. Uphill too.

1min 45secs escalator at Beotigogae Station. Or was it 2mins 11secs?

The amount of locks with messages of love was astounding. A view from the observation deck without a visit to the teddy bear museum was enough for us. Not a bad view but quite foggy. Managed to get my camera working again properly with the LCD screen now displaying what the photo would actually be. Thought I did quite well with the photos up until now not really knowing what I was photographing. The Boy wanted a souvenir coin from N Seoul Tower and, not expecting the instructions to be in English, I just printed one. Of course I only got half of the design onto the coin and had to try again.

N Seoul Tower gets the old heave-ho.

Padlocks everywhere.


Proclamations of love.

Locks as far as you can see.

An Aussie restaurant, maybe.

Seoul from N Seoul Tower.

Bus stop below and Han River in the background.

Mine water is better than soaking bitch drink.

Cold in the park surrounding N Seoul Tower.

N Seoul Tower just fits in the picture.

Caught the bus down to another subway station and from there went to Samgakji Station so that we could visit the War Memorial of Korea. What an awesome place! We spent 30 minutes outside photographing statues, tanks, APCs, missiles and aircraft including a B52 Stratofortress. And The Boy hates the cold but he took quite a bit of coaxing to make him come inside. Frozen almost solid it was certain time to enter the building. For some reason the admission tickets were free which was ok with me. The next hour and a half we spent wandering the halls which included the Memorial Hall and Heroes of Korea in busts. The Boy was very interested in the busts and wanted to read all of their heroic exploits. Downstairs was a model of Yu Sun-shin's turtleboat (geobukseon), The Three Kingdoms Period, Goryeo Dynasty and Joseon Dynasty. Wonderful paintings adorned the walls. The mobile rocket launcher, for propelling 100 arrows at a time, was very interesting.

Then we went to the War Experience Room where a small scene from war at night time was played. The laser shooting range was good fun. I managed to hit all four tartets. When The Boy tried to shoot a target other than his own the attendant told him that he had to shoot only his target.

I'd thoroughly recommend a vist to the War Memorial of Korea. Make sure you use exit 12 at Samgakji Station.

The Statue of Brothers

The Statue of Brothers up close.

Mosiac under the dome.

Countries that came to South Korea's aid.

Tank and Boy.

Koreans know how to make outstanding murals.

B52 on display.

Serious bit of warfare hardware.

Missile. Don't see Kim Jong-il's name on it though.

Anti-Aircraft Boy.

Car park full of military hardware.

The Korean War Memorial.

RHS mural at entrance.

LHS mural at entrance.


Korean national war heroes.

Yi Sun-shin's bust.

Yi Sun-shin's geobukseon (turtle boat).

Early Korean tank.

Early Korean battle painting.

Marvellous painting of battle.

More Korean battles.

Another Korean battle painting.

Early Korean Patriot Missile Battery.

Yi Sun-shin's long sword from Joseon Dynasty.

Caught the underground back to Anguk Station and it was a three minute walk back to the hotel. I think that I've seen enough steps in Seoul. The Boy and I rested in our room for 45 minutes until Miky and Keiko returned. Had a bit of a break before going out for dinner. Found a nice littel restaurant in Insa-dong. Man, you order the food and the first dish to be served almost hits the table before you have finished ordering. Our meal consisted of seafood pancakes, mung bean soup (doenjang chigae), bulgogi (quite different to the style I normally have), something else and many side dishes. More than enough food for 4 people and only W39,000 (AU$39). After the meal we walked around Insa-dong checking out the souvenirs.

Entrance to Insa-dong.

Seafood pancake - haengmuljeon.

Delicious Korean meal.

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