Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Welcome to Korea!

Twelve years ago, FM and I lived in Seoul for four months. I have exactly 78 pictures from that trip. And twelve of them are of our apartment.

Obviously, my travel style and picture taking skills have changed a lot since 2001.

And so has Seoul. I think. Although I have no pictures to prove it, every old familiar corner sure looks different today. 

Seoul holds a special place in my heart. Korea was my first introduction to Asia, and by far the largest city I'd ever seen. Today, it's population stands at over 10 million people.

And every one of them is super polite. I do remember that for sure.

In addition, I've been here for over 36 hours already and haven't heard the song "Gangnam Style" once. Thank GOD! Of course, I haven't BEEN to the Gangnam yet, either. Jet lag is still keeping us close to home, early to bed and WAY early to rise.

So, here's a quick tour around the Jongno area of downtown Seoul. 

We are currently at the Seoul Plaza Hotel, located directly across from City Hall (pictured). We are moving to Insa-Dong today. I still can't read the word dong all over everything without a giggle. So immature. . .

Continuing down Sejong-ro we end up at Gwanghwamun Plaza and Gyeongbokgung Palace. There used to be a HUGE, very old tree at this corner. I miss it. The blue roof in the background is the President's House and very close to where we used to live in 2001. And yes, that is a mountain in the background. There are several mountains that feel like they are right in the city proper.
Dong Dong (giggle giggle)

Twelve years ago, coffee was very difficult to find. VERY. Now there's a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or some local outlet on almost every corner. One of my favorite new additions to the coffee culture. Nothing kinky here!
I honestly do not remember what used to be here, I'm guessing a road. But now we have a sub-street level canal with a wonderful walking path. The town feels very green.
There also seems to be a lot more sculptures around town. Like EVERYWHERE. I like this one, plus there were about 20 Korean dudes standing around it having a smoke break.

 Entrance to Namdaemun Market. There is NOTHING you can't buy here. However, 10,000 won (about $9) doesn't go as far as it used to. Looked at a leather toiletry bag for FM here, cost was about $100. Obviously, he did not get the bag.

Directly across from the market is Sungnyemun Gate, part of the Fortress Walk that we are inadvertently on.
The Bank of Korea Museum. An interesting piece of architecture.

Dinner! Hot and Spicy chicken stir-fry, accompanied by many Cass beers. Yum. 

Had to take a picture of this. Need to find out the meaning behind it.
Okay. Time to throw our bags in a taxi and head to our new digs in Insa-dong (giggle). I really need to grow up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great photos! Looking forward to many more.

Bill H said...

I think we need a translation of the Korean word "dong", it might take the giggle factor out