Korea trip pt. 1

My Korea trip was mid to late Dec, the dead of winter. I have higher tolerance for the cold than my family, so I was mostly fine (cold, but fine), but they really struggled, wearing up to 5 layers on top, 3 layers of bottoms, snow boots, scarf, gloves, hat, everything.IMG_4987This is how it began — everyone dozing off on the completely empty airport express. We initially thought we’d boarded the wrong train.

Our hotel in Seoul was the Millenium Seoul Hilton, near Namsan, & we had several other one-night stays in different cities on our land tour.

Namsan had a really good atmosphere — it reminded me a bit of the Umeda Floating Garden in Osaka.IMG_5001IMG_4995IMG_5006IMG_5004

Our land tour started out in Gyeongju. We met up with our tour group & had lunch at a cute vegetarian restaurant in the middle of nowhere. It turned out that the entire tour group was just us and one other family, so we had lots of space in the 40-seater coach. IMG_5036IMG_5018IMG_5027IMG_5026The Bulguksa Temple was truly freezing, so cold my feet hurt for hours after. I think it was around –10°C that day, it apparently got colder on subsequent days but I think I was more appropriately attired after this bad experience. The tour guide told us about all the buildings and monuments that the Japanese destroyed. IMG_5044 copy IMG_5048 IMG_5053 copy IMG_5054 IMG_5061The tour guide told us about the tradition of building stone “pagodas” for good luck so we did one.IMG_5064 copyScenes near the National MuseumIMG_5069 copyTomb of somebody important, an emperor or something. I can’t remember who — probably someone to do with the Silla dynasty.

We didn’t spend much time in Daegu, just one evening in the city and one night in the hotel. The ginseng chicken soup & roast chicken we had there was real good.IMG_5077 IMG_5080 copy

In Andong we visited the beautiful Hahoe Village, a historic clan-based village from the Joseon dynasty. The traditional architecture was really well-preserved & the place was picturesque.IMG_5093 IMG_5099 IMG_5109 IMG_5117 IMG_5120 Swings that girls apparently used to look at the surrounding land, because they weren’t allowed to leave the village.IMG_5123 Our tour guide kept walking far ahead of the group, nagging at everyone to walk faster so he’d be able to get out of the cold. IMG_5125

tbc in Part 2.


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