Friday, April 25, 2014

Korea Day 6: Sunshine in Seoul

We rewarded ourselves for a job well done at the conference by sleeping in till assorted hours of the afternoon today. When we rolled out of bed, it was right up the street to a typical Korean restaurant for lunch, followed by a brief trip on my part to the ethereal hotel gym.

The group then set out for an exciting afternoon of exploring the city. We started at Gyeongbokgung Palace, which we hadn't been able to enter on Tuesday because it was closed. We spent a couple of hours admiring its vivid colors and uplifting courtyards, all under the sunny but not overbearing Seoul sky.

We paid a brief visit to the National Folk Museum of Korea before meeting up with Jen to head to Myeong-dong, a bright and bustling tourist area full of light and tempting street snacks.

We meandered about for quite a while searching for a dinner restaurant upon which everyone could agree. Our #1 criterion was that our meal choice be typical Korean fare, followed by specifications about location, variety, and ostensible popularity of restaurant. After winding in and out of dizzying streets for upwards of an hour, we finally had to settle for a promising joint. It was only midway through ordering that we realized the spot we had selected was Japanese!

Nevertheless, our dinner was delicious and left us ready for a long digestive walk, which we chose to take to Cheonggyecheon Creek. This six-kilometer stream runs through downtown Seoul, providing a beautiful route to walk, sunken below the skyscrapers, through the city.

The theme of the rest of the night was not being able to catch the feel of anything on camera: from the dreamlike stream to the majestic Dongdaemun Gate, these streets must be walked to be sensed. I can't wait to be back soon.

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