Seoul in my Heart : Part II

I remember leaving you previously on my 2nd (almost) half day in Seoul, South Korea on my last post. So now I would be telling you the second part of my tour in Seoul, which consists of the other half of my second day. So bear with me. The second day was the busiest day out of all the five days we’ve been to Korea since this was a full-day city tour.

Remember me telling you guys about Philip? Well, on my previous post, I wasn’t able to add a single photo of him in the post so, here, I will be giving you at least several candid photos of him shot by my dad. I’m pretty sure there should be decent ones but because Philip was so busy lecturing us about Korea and their culture, the photos are candid as ever. Anyways, here we go.

After going to the Jogyesa Temple, we then proceeded to Changdeokgung Palace. The Changdeokgung Palace, according to Philip, was the second Chosun Dynasty palace built in 1405. Meaning “prospering virtue,” the palace replaced Gyeongbok Palace amidst political struggle over the throne. It was also burnt during the Japanese invasion but rebuilt in 1609 to be used as the state palace. A must-see in the palace, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, is the back garden. The biggest of its kind from the Chosun period, this beautiful and lush garden was favored by the royal family.

One of the highlights of the day, as I recall, was seeing  the changing of the guards ceremony in the palace. I thought it was only in the United Kingdom that practiced such ceremony, pero di pala nagpapatalo ang Korea! They have their own version, shorter and more (of course) Asian.

The Changdeokgung Palace is also near the Blue House, which as you may or may not know, is the White House of Korea. The Blue House, of course, is where the President of Korea lives. It’s so cool to know that this is the first time that Korea is having their first female president! Oh yeah! *Independent Women by Destiny’s Child plays on the background.*

Another cool thing I’ve noticed is that Korean police dons roller skates to easily catch suspects. Almost everyone from the tour couldn’t believe that they were wearing roller skates as shoes. Most of us thought that they were just freakishly tall Koreans. Like AMAZONIAN Koreans.

After the Changdeokgung Palace and the Blue House we then proceeded to Nandaemun Market to catch a glimpse of the 24 hour non-stop market of Korea. I wasn’t able to get a photo though because Nandaemun Market was too jam-packed to take a photo and most of the time people were bumping me from shoulder to shoulder. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. But if I can describe it to you, it is the Divisoria or Quiapo that we have in the Philippines. If you live in another country, most of what you will see in Nandaemun is a flea market.

We then ate lunch at a bulgogi place near Itaewon, to which I think has the BEST BULGOGI ever! I was too hungry to even take a photo, but our stomachs were very happy at the end of the meal.

After Itaewon, we then went again to another palace called, the Deoksugung Palace. Comprised of several buildings, all varying in construction, the premises of Deoksugung Palace were once occupied by various Korean royalty until the Japanese took control toward the turn of the 20th century.

That guy walking backwards is Philip

After the Deoksugung Palace, we already opted to not go to Insadong anymore since we already went around the place the day before and we wanted to give Philip an hour or two to rest for his night shift tour around Korea for another batch of tourists. SO YAY! And yes, were that kind to people who are nice to us.

After a while, we opted to rest in our hotel and we stumbled upon this street food vendor near our place. He was selling fried dumplings and boiled eggs, so we just had to try.

As the night draws near, we went to have dinner at McDonalds. And we went to Cheonggyecheon Stream. This particular stream runs in Seoul, Korea. To which I believe is the “Lover’s Lane” version of the Koreans. What I love about this place is that it has lots of contemporary and modern art such as light shows and photo galleries in the underground to which the stream runs. There were also a couple of traditional art such as the paper float that is stationed in the stream to provide a bit of lighting. The Cheonggyecheon Stream is full of energy at night.

As the night drew to a close, we can’t help but remember the wonderful people we have met during the day. To Philip who was kind enough to give us a tour of Korea despite our stubborn curiosity, thank you. We truly learned a lot from your culture even for just a day. To the manong who was selling those fried dumplings and boiled eggs on the corner, thank you. Your cooking is truly superb!

I can’t wait to share more photo moments with you when I was in Korea! Til next post. Part III is up next!

P.S. As I am writing to you this now, today, I am celebrating my 1st blog anniversary. Woohoo! Cara Will Take Over is now officially 1 years old!

Love always,

Picture 5

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