Monday, 15 June 2009

A Day in Seoul

I had a day to spend in Seoul before my flight to Brisbane. I had pondered a trip to the DMZ, but in the end I chose to have a quieter day, and in the end caught the bus from the airport to Gyeongbokgun Station which is right near the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

The bus stopped near the station, but initially I found it difficult to find my way to the Palace, but I ventured underground into the train station and discovered directions there. Interestingly it took me through two galleries which were fascinating and as I climbed the stairs out in into the sunshine I found myself in the grounds of the Palace.

When I looked towards the Palace I could see guards in uniform. This excited me as I enjoy the traditions of countries and it is clearly a golden opportunity to show more than just the buildings. And what a golden photo opportunity.

I couldn't work out if it was a changing of the guards, or just some exercise the guards do - as I imagine standing still for long periods would not be easy. They marched in formation out into the grounds in front of the gate of the Palace, and hundreds of cameras clicked.

I had been told that at 1.30 pm there would be a tour of the Palace with an English speaking tour guide, and I had time to explore inside on my own before going back to meet the tour guide at the appointed time.

I had quite a good look around on my own, and discovered that at 2 pm there was going to be a re-enactment of an event known as the King's Banquet, so I planned to do that too.

The Palace is at the foot of a mountain - a delightful spot. Nearby is the Blue House - (not to be confused with "the White House" of US fame, but the house of the South Korean President) - again in beautiful surroundings. I could have spent many hours within the grounds of the Palace, so will visit again if I am lucky enough to visit Seoul again.

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