April 21, 2017
Happy birthday Dawn, have a lovely day.
Our last day in Seoul being tourists. Another great day. We headed out to the Namsangol Hanok Village which is a free museum.
There are five traditional houses that have been relocated to this site.
This was cheaper than renting the costumes for 10,000 K-won ($12.00) for an hour.
The houses were relocated and restored. The houses have been recreated with traditional furniture and landscaping. Each house stands within its own courtyard and walls. There are different areas to each house, for example there is the main house, (Sarangchae) the outer quarters for the men with reception rooms, the second building (Anchae) the inner quarters are for the women who also have seating areas and sleeping areas, the kitchen was sometimes outside or in a smaller area depending on the person living in the house.
All the buildings are raised off the ground, which allows for the under-floor heating. The under-floor heating is used almost everywhere in Korea to this day. It is very efficient an you have toasty warm feet as an added benefit. The museum was a really nice way to spend the morning and explore traditional housing.
In the larger houses they have “walls” suspended from the ceiling. These “walls” can be lowered to divide the space into smaller areas (Pictures 1-3).
We spent a few hours wandering around the houses. There were school groups and kindergarten groups enjoying the buildings as well.
Traditional dress and modern communications.
In 1994 to mark Seoul’s 600th Anniversary they created a time capsule which will be opened in 2394 to celebrate the 1,000th year Anniversary. The square is built in the shape of a meteorite crater. The time capsule has 600 items inside ranging from maps of the City of Seoul to plastic household items.
We walked through the gardens to a small café where we had lunch and realized we were fairly close to the North Seoul Tower
The weather was good, so we headed up towards the Tower. There are mixed reviews (online) as to whether it is worth paying the extra money to go to the top of the tower.
We both like towers and the views that they afford of the city we are visiting.
As we walked up the hill to the tower, we were amazed at the amount of greenspace. There were a lot of people enjoying the area and the exercise park half way up the hill.
When we got to the top it was obviously a very popular tourist area. Then we spotted the love locks, everywhere you looked there was a lock with a couples name on it. We have seen this in other places but were amazed at the amount of locks located here. We decided to buy one and attach it to the fence, the idea is to put the key into a box to lock your love. Ralf noticed that there were some locks with combination locks. His theory was that, obviously these were a temporary thing. Remember the combination and you can replace it for the next love of your life!
We decided not to go to the top of the tower as the sun had gone and the view was overcast.
There was lots to see at the top of the mountain, including traditional performance of martial arts.
When we headed back down we thought about taking the cable car, as I find it hard on my knees negotiating the steps. We decided that we should walk down a different way to see another area of the parkland.
This tree was carved to represent a Korean smile.
The 75 year-old Mulberry tree was destroyed in a strong wind in 2014. It’s funny that they would carve a Korean smile, as we do not see the Korean’s smile a lot. They are a very serious nation, until you get a group of middle-aged women together and they giggle like school girls.
We came out by the South Gate and the market.
The City of Seoul used to be a walled city in the 1300’s. Some of the gates and walls were destroyed by invasion. The city are rebuilding the gates and some of the walls.
The bell installed in the gatehouse rang to indicate the opening and closing of the gate at 4 a.m. and 10 p.m. respectively. During flood and drought the king would come to the gate to preside over prayer rituals invoking fair weather and rainfall respectively. During 2008 the gate was set fire to by an arsonist to the horror of the nation. From 2008 to 2013 the gate was restored and the walls to left and right of the gate were rebuilt.
After walking through the market, I was hungry and we opted to eat in a local restaurant, before heading back to our hotel on the Metro.
We spotted one restaurant that had English and pictures on the outside, bonus. However, when we went inside there was a list of the menu that you had to make a tick mark next to what you wanted to order! It was all in Korean. This was something that should be on the Amazing Race. If you match the Korean alphabet with the menu and what you want to eat you win and you get to eat what you ordered. If you don’t manage it you still have to eat what you ordered. Which could have been squid ink Bibimibap!. Ralf and I managed to pass the test and get what we ordered!
As we entered the metro we noticed a line of men, some with cardboard. The metro is used as a bomb-shelter in the case of emergency. Sadly, it is also used as a place to sleep for the homeless.
Tomorrow we cycle the bike route back to start of the Ara waterway (the section that we didn’t cycle at the beginning of this ride) and then take the train to Incheon.