Monday 25 may 2015
This was the first real day that we had to spent in Seoul, South-Korea's vivid capital. Though it didn't feel like any capital. Streets were pretty empty, traffic didn't rush nor was it stuck in traffic jams.
Update: mayby this was due to MERS and people avoiding public spaces. We didn't worry about MERS. Mouthmasks were more a fashionstatement, then something serious. And be honest: where in Seoul do you have dromedarissen? camels or something else?
First we bought a T-moneycard and uploaded money on it. We could thus easily take any metro, bus or even taxi and other services with that single T-money-card. It's like the Oystercard in London, but in London I got pretty ripped off by that card, yeah how dumb can you be, well I don't know but it did ripp me off by wrong use and due to circumstances. Anyway in the end T-money-card in Korea proved to be solid and most practical.
The Gyeongbokgung Palace, the greatest of Palaces in Seoul was the first thing we visited. Soon our way departed from the group. The story will continu with pictures and comments on those pictures.
The first thing when you get upground from the underground is this view. The old ancient gate with the new skyscrapers in the background. Protect your eyes and your head from the beating sun if you are sensitive to it.
Funny to see all those umbrella's.
Oh yes this was the first place where we encoutnered the smartphone-selfie-addiction of Asian people. So I joined them.
The Palace has a nice park with a pond and lots of rooms and pagoda's. You can walk freely almost everywhere.
Samsung S3 neo selfie :-)
From the palace of Gyeongbokgung we walked westwards to the other park and palace, which we didn't enter. we strolled a bit amongst the more modern hipster neighbourhood with restaurants and shops and art galleries and then we crossed south straight to the Namsan Tower of Seoul. The walk to the top of the Namsan Tower takes more than 1.6 km from the starting point! You can take the cable car if you like. The hike goes upwards. Upwards in the sense of Belgian upwards: steep!!! It is worth it, but my mate died several times going up :-) You come across the stream of local tourists doing the same thing. When you finally reach the upperdeck of the mountain at the foot of the N Tower it's disappointing. Hahaha shops, bars, snacks, lots of loud people, crowded like hell and those love-padlocks all over the place in the shape of a x-masstree... I kid you not!
Try to take a viewpoint and try to get some air by being overwelmed by the sight of Seoul.
Take the cablecar down for only 6000 won (pretty expensive if you know the entrance for the palace was only 3000) but hey: we then walked for another couple of hours so, we needed to save some time :-).
selfie in the cable car down. Well not all the way down. We walked again some minutes downtown and ate a local lunch.
Porksoup with dumplings and rice in a very local rerstaurant.
After that we took the metro back to the hotel where we joined the group again to go to some neighbourhood in Seoul with the traditional houses: Seoul's Bukchon Hanok Village It's really nice to stroll around over there and watch all the Korean tourists wandering around.
After that we all went to the more shopping streets in the hipster Meyong Dong quarter and went to a temple to celebrate the birthday of Buddha. Quiet some experience to see all the lights and singing people.
The subway never was so crowed as this time. Mostly even in the busy neighbourhoods the subway is pretty calm. Strange in a city of millions.
Great watching point in the traditional neighbourhood: Bukchon Hanok Village
watching people posing for the same picture
streetlife of local tourists
The shopping street. They have everything.
Inside the Buddha temple, I just joined the queue of people greeting Buddha :-)
And then we had some barbecue again in a restaurant that called itself " a good restaurant".
Afterwards we strolled the river, recreational park Cheonggyecheon: it lays down the streets, completely separated from streets with nice green and walking paths. There were lot's of light-art installations.
And then it was time to earn some sleep. With the airco on and most blankets of the bed :-)