May 21: Korea 101

  • Techno-Mart
  • Bongeunsa

May 22:
Culture & Commerce

  • Gyeongbokgung
    경복공 Palace (changing of the guard)
  • Changeokgung
    창덕궁 Palace
  • Insadong 인사동

May 23:
Solo-ing in Seoul

  • Namsan 남산 Park
  • Namdaemun


Korea Diary spacer

May 24:
Solo-ing in Seoul

  • Olympic Park
    올림픽 공원
  • dinner in Itaewon
May 25:
Separate Vacations
  • Bukhansan 북한산

May 26:
More Culture (2 kinds) & Commerce

  • Gyeongbokgung 경복공 Palace

May 27:
More Culture & Commerce

  • Inwangsan

May 28: X-biking

  • Asian X-games
  • biking along Han River 한캉

May 29: More Cultural Experiences

  • Seoul Art Center
    예술의 전당
  • Noryangjin Fish Market
  • soccer game

May 30: Final Report

  • Namsangol Traditional Village


Getting there and backNote on Korean charactersMapCredits

About our trip

In May of 2005, we spent a wonderful, whirlwind 10 days in Seoul (서울), South Korea, a place we had previously never thought about visiting. But Hal and Carey had been living there a few months and were enjoying it, and they'd recently moved into an apartment large enough to accommodate visitors. So...why not visit them? We've been happy ever since with the decision to do so, thereby filling in, somewhat, the blank spaces on our personal maps for that part of the world.

The text that appears on the pages of this website, in Arial font, was copied from emails that I sent home almost daily to friends and family, detailing our adventures. (Explanatory and extra material that was not in the emails, like this introduction, is displayed in Courier.) I'm ever so glad that I took the time to write those emails; otherwise most of these fascinating memories would have been lost in the mists of time. As it is, working on this website has brought them all back to me! In adapting the email text for the website, I have made slight editorial changes to correct misspellings and grammatical errors and to clarify the dates being discussed. Otherwise, they are exactly as written on the spot in Seoul.

I have interspersed selected photos at the appropriate places in the "diary," connecting the separated sections of the text with links. There are many more photos in Flickr sets that I have also linked from appropriate spots on the web pages. Here is the main Korea Diary Flickr collection that contains all of these sets.

For non-sports fans, I apologize for all the Spurs-related references in the text. We were very interested in what was happening in the NBA playoffs at home while we were gone, and the exciting wins we followed on the internet were harbingers of a very happy end to the season. After we got home, the guys went on to win their third championship! The Astros are also mentioned a couple of times, and although we weren't as into their games while in Korea, they also ended up with a great season that year, making it to their first World Series in October, 2005. Hmmm. Perhaps these sports teams would be interested in funding future trips to Asia for might bring them luck!


Getting there and back

The first and last emails I sent are not included in the text of the webpages, since they don't describe anything we did in Seoul.

Here's the first one:

Friday, May 20:

We are safely arrived at Hal and Carey's lovely apartment. Our flights were smooth and uneventful, but VERY long and we are pooped. Hopefully we'll have a more interesting report tomorrow.

And the last one:

Tuesday, May 31: back home

After what we calculated was 30 hours of more or less wakefulness we are back home in San Antonio. Our last flight leg, from Salt Lake City here, was an hour late departing, our only delayed flight. The long flight from Seoul to San Francisco seemed much shorter than on the way over, we think it was because they had a better selection of movies. Even though it's early afternoon in Seoul right now and almost midnight here, I think we are tired enough to go to sleep right away and so I hope we can avoid jet lag problems with adjusting our body clocks.

On to bed....

We flew from San Antonio to Salt Lake City to San Francisco to Seoul's Incheon Airport, leaving San Antonio on the 19th and arriving at Seoul on the 20th. Whew! The longest leg was the most memorable not only for its duration but also for the luxury afforded by Singapore Air even to tourist class. We all hope we can take another flight with them sometime. We flew home the same way, with the same stops.


Note on Korean characters (the characters don't display in Explorer, but do in Firefox and Chrome)

The Hangul (한글) characters used throughout these web pages to show the Korean words for different places and things were taken from Wikipedia pages, which handily and clearly show these letters, and from the Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook and Seoul guidebook that we had with us during the trip. This wonderful website makes it relatively easy (in conjunction with the pronunciation guides in the LP books, and help from some in-house experts ) to generate the HTML code necessary to display these characters on the web pages. I included these characters for my own enjoyment, because I think they look really cool, and to give readers a little bit of the linguistic flavor of the country. For all its English-speaker-friendliness, English isn't the native language there, and I think it's appropriate not only to acknowledge this, but also to celebrate it. Plus, it was really fun to re-learn enough of the characters to generate the needed code!


Map of our activities

This map shows, approximately, where our various activities took place (note: you'll have to back out to see where the airport is in relation to Seoul proper):

View a larger version of this map here.



Many thanks to Carey for magically incorporating Korean characters into my main title graphic and to her and Hal for help with the Korean characters throughout the website, with the map, and, of course, for hosting us on our visit. If you want to learn more about Korean, pick up Korean for Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean, which Hal co-authored. Its entertaining and down-to-earth introduction to the language (nicely complemented by Carey's illustrations) can provide you with a great foundation that would enable you to get around Seoul with ease.

My line graphic is adapted from one at Realm Graphics. The tab index is generated by CSS Tab Designer, a nifty free program downloaded from OverZone software, and my background graphic was adapted from one generated by Both of these generators were recommended by my wonderful web hosting service, InMotion Hosting.

Photos ©Henry J. Amen; please do not use without permission. Title graphics ©Kathy Amen.