Seoul – Palaces

30/03/16

Today we headed off to see the palaces. We got the subway to Anguk and walked north, we weren’t sure of where the palaces were but we stumbled across the old village. I believe that locals still reside in the old buildings due to the silence please posters! It was quite pretty but not much to see compared with old villages in China.

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There seemed to be a set route which we sort of followed and found ourselves back on a main road with many shops and restaurants. We walked down and found a couple tourist information agents who gave us a much needed map and showed us where to go. On the way to the first palace Gyeongbokgung palace Tina saw the fried squid shop which she’d been wanting to try. It was pretty tasty!

The walk seemed long to the entrance of Gyeonbokgung, but we made it and there were guards all dressed up at the front. Luckily we had gone on culture day which is the last Wednesday of every month, which meant free entry! It was quite the grand palace, with large court yards and a really pretty lake. On the way out we were lucky enough to see the changing of the guards, where there are the musicians on one side and the guards on the other. The men all looked like their beards were fake as they were so black.

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For lunch we went to a famous Ginseng Chicken Soup restaurant, I was a bit weary as I wasn’t sure I would like it but boy I was wrong. It’s a traditional meal so you get your bowl of chicken soup, then you take out the chicken to eat on the side and dip it into salt and pepper, then put the bone in the bone bucket. The chicken alone was quite bland so you did need the salt and pepper. The soup had a really soft sweet taste, but if I’m honest it wasn’t the best soup I’d ever had. What was nice was there was a whole small chicken in the bowl and it fell off the bone and was really tender. It was also stuffed with rice and ginseng, and when mushed together it tasted really nice like potato and not bitter at all. It was quite expensive at 16,000W but I’m glad I tried it.

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We then headed the other side of the town to see Changdeokgung Palace and Changyeonggung Palace. This took a really long time to walk! By the time we got there we had half an hour before they closed at 5pm but it was also free entry. We only had a quick look and walk around and I’m not even sure what we actually managed to see..They are nice palaces and it would’ve been better if we could go into the gardens, the tourist information told us we had to book in advanced though but it seemed as though you could pay 5000W to go in..

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As Insa-dong was just south of Anguk station we decided to walk there, it took some time but it was nice walking through. We saw a outdoor mall where the floors were slanted winding upwards which was quite interesting architecture. There was a stall there which sold poo shaped toasties filled with chocolate or red bean.

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We came across this stall selling Dragon Candy which was honey mixed with flour and stretched many times to make a nest like candy. They then filled it with almonds. This version is much less sweet than the Chinese version, it was really tasty!

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Although there was not much to do, we had some nice students come up to us and offer tour services so they could practise their English. They gave their card and it’s through a company called Make Your Tour Mate http://mtourmate.kr if we were to stay longer, it would be a great idea! I don’t think you have to pay either, just pay for their food and travel. They were really sweet girls.

The girls wanted to go back to MyeongDong for more shopping (what else!?) so we grabbed a taxi. It cost less than the subway and was much quicker, but we were very close to begin with. There was a lot of traffic by the MD subway stop so we got out. Unfortunately Anita realised she’d left her camera in the taxi so we ran to retrieve it. It was really lucky there was bad traffic as we were able to find him!

We went to the fancy department store which is really high end and Lotte Young Market, it’s very trendy and had high end high street clothes and makeup.

Final destination was Dondaemon, I think we went there for street food but we were so tired from walking we wanted to sit down and eat but couldn’t find anywhere. We headed back to our flat and stumbled across the stream, which was nice to see.

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