It has taken some getting used to, this subway system. I am so thankful that everything has been translated into English. I don’t want to imagine having to try to understand Hangul.
I dedicated my Friday to running through the various temples and palaces in Seoul. I had planned to go via subway, but I couldn’t figure it out. So I decided to grab a taxi instead. I began walking toward the first palace I would visit at Changgyeonggung. I walked a little ways and then hailed a cab. I got inside and immediately got lost in translation. I repeated myself on several occasions, but soon lost the will to engage. I exited the vehicle and decided to walk it. It was a good long walk, but nothing devastating.
DURING THE WALK
I’m actually glad I did walk it because I got to see bits and pieces of the city I wouldn’t witness had I been in the taxi, and definitely not if I had been underground in the subway. I walked through little market places that were being prepared for the rush. I traversed through thin alleys. I saw the people interact with each other. Most of all, I got some great pictures out of it.
The downside was that I ran into a wall trying to reach the Jongmyo Shrine, which is a famous Confucian shrine dedicated to the royals of the Joseon Dynasty. The Joseon Dynasty was the second dynasty of Korea and the longest lasting, having ended only in the very late 19th century. When I say wall, I mean a literal one. My GPS had told me where to go and where it stopped was next to a wall that belonged to part of the palace grounds.
I made my way around, up and through to find the entrance I really wasn’t looking for but I took anyway. It was the Changgyeonggung area with its four palaces with shrines and gardens. These structures are truly amazing and so dedicated to detail. Of course they had to be dedicated to detail, otherwise they would have probably been dedicated to the chopping block.
While visiting this palace ground, there was a very nice garden area with beautiful trees, paths, and ponds. I was able to get some wonderful photos, especially since the colors of the trees are beginning to turn for autumn.
From this palace, I headed down the path that would lead me to the Changdeokgung Palace. Unfortunately, the ticket center was the main one for all of the palaces in the area, which offered the Royal Palace Pass. I bought it and in the pass was a ticket to the Changgyeonggung Palace. I had already spent 1,000 WAN to get in there. Sure, it’s a little less than a dollar, but still, that’s almost a dollar!
This was a rather interesting walk. The place was full of people. Well, maybe not full, but there were plenty. I took photos of all that I saw: the large palaces, inside the palace rooms, people walking along the paths, and there were a lot of young people dressed in royal garb. I am not certain if the day was a special representation, but it really enhanced the experience and the photos.
THE SECRET GARDEN
Before going inside the Changdeokgung Palace, I was told there would be an English speaking tour of the palace grounds’ Secret Garden. I obviously wanted in on this little secret, so I decided to join. It would last about an hour and 15 minutes. It was good, but there wasn’t much point in joining the tour. I wasn’t taking notes so I can’t remember much of what the tour guide said, although she was humorous and very nice.
I will end this post here, but will continue with my next post about the same day, but regarding my visit to the Gwanghwamun area. That was really cool. But it is 3 a.m. and I am off to sleep. Good night.