Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gyeongbok Palace

So after a late-ish Saturday night, I went home and went to bed. The next day, I was meeting Elaine, so we could go to Gyeongbok Palace. But before I met her around 1, I needed to go buy a laundry hanging rack, since my laundry situation was becoming slightly desperate. I managed to find my way to E-Mart without getting lost (since Queena had shown me how to get there before) but it took a bit longer than I thought it would. My bus didn't get to the Yonsei University stop for a while, where I needed to change buses, so by the time I got to E-mart it was 11:10 and I had planned to leave E-Mart at 11:15. So basically, I sprinted inside, grabbed a laundry hanging rack (I don't know if there's a better name for that) grabbed some juice and noodles, and sprinted back out of the store by 11:20 or so. I got on my bus with my enormous and cumbersome rack, then took my 2 buses home. I had planned to leave my apartment at 11:45 to get to the stop where I was meeting Elaine by 1. I left about 10 minutes late, then got on the bus to get to the subway. By the time I was on the subway, I was pretty convinced I would be late, since I had 18 stops before Gangnam station. I read my book for a while, then got off at the stop, then somehow managed to leave the subway station and arrive at our meeting spot at 12:59, then she showed up about 2 minutes later. It was quite the miracle.

So I found Elaine, we got back on the subway and chatted on our way to the palace. The palace ended up being relatively close to where I live, which is good, because I plan to go back there in a week or so when the Cherry Blossoms have bloomed.

We caught each other up on our first week of classes, good and bad parts. We arrived at the station for Gyeongbok Palace and decided to get lunch. We had some extra time. We got some bim and bap (sp?) and dumplings. Then, we headed to the palace grounds.

If you're standing at the entrance gate and turn around, this is what you see...interesting juxtaposition

The palace was soo beautiful. It was painted with so many colors and there were so many buildings, it was great!

Our failed attempts and taking a picture together

Love the cranes in the background

And there were guards with fantastic mustaches and beards, who were extremely tall.

I'm guessing this is what the ceilings looked like before the restoration of the palace.

There were awesome statues all over the place.

I got yelled by a man when taking this picture because apparently I wasn't posing right....

My favorite is this one: I have christened him "The Angry Hippogriff"

And these because I love the noses and that one carving's ears:

Every point of the palace was beautifully painted with so many colors. The indoor rooms, which you had to take off your shoes before entering, were painted as well and also some art.

These included some birds and wildlife paintings.

And some turtles blowing tornadoes out of their mouths.

And apparently a brazier. I am not sure what this was...

The ceilings were also amazing

We continued wandering around, taking tons of pictures and enjoying ourselves.

We then went into the Folk Museum inside this awesome building, which told us the history of the Korean people, which was pretty cool. Lots of ancient and modern artifacts in the museum!

Then Elaine pointed out something. I mentioned that I thought I might have allergies now instead of a cold...maybe with just a lingering cough. This conversation ensued.

Elaine: Did you notice the scotchbroom?
Me: Noooo. They have scotchbroom in Korea?
Elaine: Yes, haven't you noticed it?
Me: No. I am very allergic to scotchbroom.
Elaine: Well it's everywhere!
Me: No way.

Then, I noticed the scotchbroom. Not just a bush, but it's everywhere.

When I got back to my apartment, I looked out my window. There are several large bushes of scotchbroom. No wonder I can't recover from my illness. I am being inundated with my Washington allergies. Tis dumb.

After we finished wandering, we headed back to the area I live in to have dinner.

Elaine and I weren't sure what to get, so we just chose a place based on the pictures, then ordered by pointing at the pictures on the menu, haha. We ended up with a seafood soup thingy (which was actually quite delicious) and this vegetable plate thing.

As I was eating and greatly enjoying my soup, suddenly I feel like I am attempting to swallow a hair, which I would not do. So I took it out of my mouth, feeling really gross out, then I realize that it is not a hair. It is a Shrimp Antennae. Where did the shrimp antennae come from?

From this little guy, complete with eyes and baby shrimp eggs. Needless to say we did not eat him or his little friends. bleck

Then Monday it was back to teaching!

Random Pictures:
A cool grate in the palace grounds
A rabbit sign
A giant bird on a building
My favorite add in Korea


  1. Oh my I love the photos...you must make a photo book of this place. I am so happy for you. What a wonderful place. The colors are amazing. What a history lesson you are experiencing. I had never thought of exploring that part of the world and now I find it so worth it. Thank you for sharing your "take" on it all...much better the Rick Steves! You must keep a log of all the strange foods for us. No wonder they love uncooked food...its life like...as if the more shocking the more enjoyable..haha. One time I watched someone get birdnest egg type of breakfast...it was in a bird nest! (this was in a little room in Japan, where the woman cooked over a gas type bar-be-que type gill) Love the blog!

  2. these photos are lovely. I'm amazed at the beautiful patterns on the temple. thank you for sharing them.

  3. Of course I would share them! I went back today to take pictures with the cherry blossoms. Pictures to come soon!