Korea Diary
Mary 26: More Culture & Commerce




We were successful in our Star Wars ticket procurement mission, but it took a lot longer than we thought. There was a long line and it takes a while to buy tickets at movies in Seoul because you have to select your assigned seats! Such a practice is actually quite helpful in the case of a movie like this, since we wouldn't have to get to the theatre too long before our showing in order to find good seats together.

But we didn't get off on our palace excursion as early as we thought we would. And it's starting to get warm here—still pretty nice in the shade, but definitely shorts weather nonetheless. [The Palace we toured today was Gyeongbokgung Palace, where we'd seen the changing of the guard on our first full day in Seoul.]

We decided to take one of our tourbook's walking tours in the neighborhood of the palace first and it didn't turn out *too* well, since the directions weren't real clear and we missed the main attraction of the walk, a viewpoint. But it was through a very interesting neighborhood, lots of little restaurants and art galleries and ended up at one of Seoul's wonderful little parks.

Sally decided to skip out on the palace tour and went to do some more shopping, but Henry and I are glad we went to Gyeongbokgung (경복궁) Palace, the largest one in Seoul. The original compound was enormous, rivaling the Forbidden City in Beijing in size, but it was destroyed by the Japanese in the 1500's. It was rebuilt somewhat later but was partially destroyed again during another Japanese occupation. (The Japanese don't come off very well going by historic markers in Seoul.) The remaining buildings are quite impressive, though, and give you a good idea of what the original place must have been like. [text continued below]

Geongbukgong panorama
large pagoda-like builidng
pond, building, mountain
spacer main Palace building

Architecturally it's much like the other palace we visited but much more extensive—little archways and courtyards and gardens and groups of colorful buildings just go on and on. Plus, they served delicious ice cream at the concession stand! [text continued below]

Palace garden

part of one of the Palace's wonderful gardens


ceiling and roof details

colorful roof and ceiling details

In the main square:

Henry with a guard

Henry poses with a Palace guard


ceremonial drum

a ceremonial drum that I kind of liked smiley

A highlight of the visit was seeing all the Seoul school kids on tours there. The place is so big that they can all be accommodated and not get in the way at all. When they see us, some in the groups always say"Hi," I guess eager to show off their English. Henry freaks them out when he then replies "An-yong haseyo" (안녕하세요) which is "hi" in Korean . They get the biggest kick out of that and the girls, especially, squeal with delight. My husband, international entertainer and good-will ambassador!

Many more photos from both of our visits to Gyeonbokgung Palace are in this Flickr set.

We had dinner in tonight and then left for our (unfortunately quite late) Star Wars showing. It was fun going to the movie with the kids and we all enjoyed it pretty well although all were somewhat disappointed, too. At least trying to decipher the Korean subtitles was a help during some of the slower-moving scenes smiley. [images of our ticket stubs are below]


Star Wars ticket stub spacer reverse of ticket stub