Where we've been: Seoul, Chuncheon, and Incheon
Before I get started, I just wanted to acknowledge all of the events going on in the world right now. The world seems like a scary and uncertain place. Luckily, as we have been traveling in Asia and New Zealand, we have not noticed any animosity or people infighting. There have been peaceful protests in the larger cities without incident. It gives us hope that people care and want peace all over the world. We are wishing peace and love to everyone!
We hope you are safe and these wars will end soon.
Here's the last blog from Asia. We ended our trip in Korea doing some amazing things in and around Seoul. Here are the highlights!
We started off our tour with a visit to the Deoksugung Palace in the middle of Seoul. We arrived right at the time of the changing of the guards, in front of the Made in Chicago Pizza Parlor. It was cool to see the mix of past and present in the city.
The palace architecture is impressive and unique. The colors and styles that were used during the Joseon period were unlike any other palaces or temples we saw throughout Asia.
Next stop was the Gwangjang market- the oldest traditional market in Seoul. You could get anything from prepared foods, pickled veggies (including kimchi), to
Hand made Hanboks, the traditional clothing of Korea.
We ate a delicious lunch of Gimbop and Korean Pancakes. We had our helpful tour guide, Jones, order the best food they had. Fay even learned how to officially use chopsticks that meal.
Next stop was palace #2, Gyeongbokgung Palace- the most beautiful of the palaces in the city. It was built in 1395 and is still in great shape. We caught yet another changing of the guards! No pizza shop nearby though.
Our favorite part of the day was getting to dress up in traditional Hanboks and explore the palace as if we were royalty. So much fun!
Fay loved being a model in her Korean garb.
Wearing Hanboks was definitely a fan favorite of all of us! We were sad to have to take them off after 2 hours and put back on our street clothes.
Last stop of the day was at the Bukchon Hanok Village, an area with traditional housing and lifestyles.
The view of Seoul at sunset from the top of the village was impressive!
The next day we headed to Gangchon Rail Park outside of the city in Chuncheon.
We got to rail bike along old railroad tracks on a four pedal bike. It was so much fun and a bit scary at times when it went fast downhill!
It went through trippy tunnels, with pinwheels, lights, and bubbles. Then we took a train called The Romance Train that was from the 1970's. It was a cool and retro experience! Korea is all about creativity and we're here for it.
Next stop was Nami island. You take a short ferry ride to this fantastical island with all kinds of beautiful nature, ostriches, shops, a music museum, Unicef Library, and so much more.
We rode tandem bikes and almost didn't survive the ride! It's harder than it looks!
And we met so many tiny dogs in tiny clothing. Fay was in heaven!
The next few days we had free so we traveled around the city to sites we really wanted to check out. We saw the National Museum of Korea which was free and had a children's museum attached. The design was some incredible architecture.
Then we went to Yongsan park which used to be a US military base but is now a stunning garden, fun playground, and lots of green space. Fun fact: David's dad was stationed there as a young surgeon in the 1960's.
No visit to Seoul would be complete without a visit to the Hybe building where the group BTS and other K-Pop music is produced. Maja was in heaven!
We found some tasty street food for dinner. There was food virtually at every turn in the Myeongdong neighborhood (which was close to our hotel).
The night ended with some Karaoke (or Nolaebang in Korean) and drinks.
Our last full day in Seoul included riding bikes along the gorgeous Han river. No tandem bikes this time. Fay loved being on her own kids bike.
Our final meal was in the Itaewon neighborhood which is a multicultural commercial area and is very popular with foreigners and locals alike. We found a wonderful Korean BBQ place and gorged ourselves on meat, soups, and sides.
On our way to the Incheon airport, we stopped by Wolmi Traditional Park which had a cultural village inside. The sweet women volunteers who worked there promoting Korean culture, helped Fay dress up in a Hanbok and sit in a traditional house. Everyone was beaming! It was such a nice way to enjoy Korea and its beautiful traditions one more time.
We will truly miss this part of Asia! But we're all planning a trip back someday.
Now onto New Zealand! Where the sheep outnumber the people. Our final stop before heading back to the US in early December.