Seoul Saturday May 1 2010

Seoul Saturday May 1 2010

Chris arrives at our hotel to greet us and is very happy to see us after fifteen months in Korea (or was it the Adams Peanut Butter and home made jam we brought for him?). He is looking great and is enjoying Korea.We are really happy to see him too and soon we are all enjoying Korea.

Chris is no stranger to Asia. He spent a month in Japan when he was 12 years old at Seirei Gakuen school in Hamamatsu where I spent the summer as an exchange teacher in 1993. He returned to Seirei Gakuen High School on his own for half a year as a high school junior. Then Chris spent a year at Shimane University in Matsue City as an exchange student from Central Washington University. After graduating from CWU he decided to get to know another Asian country and found a job teaching English in Korea at Anyang City in 2009 for a year. In 2010 he moved to Namyangju east of Seoul to teach for another year. He likes hiking and mountain climbing and Korea offers many scenic opportunities.

We set out for Namsan Park a short cab ride south of our hotel and central downtown Seoul. The trail around Namsan Mountain is called Namsangongwangil and there are many walkers enjoying the falling cherry blossoms and spring flowers along the way. We spot the aerial tramway and decide to walk over to the Base Station and take the ride to the Summit Station.Walking further up to the Seoul Tower Chris and Cheryl find a sidewalk illustrator and decide to get their portraits done gathering a crowd of onlookers. I explore the old stone beacon tower nearby. After taking in the summit and a portrait on the way we start our descent to the east side of the mountain and arrive at the National Theatre just before 3 pm to attend a show.

Chris’s friend works at the theatre and she has arranged 3 tickets for us at Will-Call for Korean Fantasy by the National Dance Company of Korea. Choreographer Bae Jun-hye and Director Woo Jae-hyun have put together six dances that tell stories from Korean tradition and all are interesting and enjoyable.See http://www.ntok.go.kr/english/en_ntok/en_residentcompanies/en_dance/en_dance.cms

After the show we walk north on the Jang chungdan gil trail that leads to Dongguk University. The subway line #3 takes us to Anguk where we walk to the Insadong-gil shopping street.and find a Fringe Arts Festival in blossom with a string quartet playing. After taking in the music and the crowd we go to the Go Gung Bibimbop restaurant. The hot stone bowl Bibimbap is the thing to order here and we add a little Ginseng Wine to go with it. With a belly of Bibimbap we walk to the Chogyesa Temple that is decorated with thousands of lanterns. There is quite a crowd gathered here. Then we walk down to Chongyechonno riverwalk and back to the Gwangwamun Plaza to see the statues of Admiral Yi Sun Shin and King Sejong and the new underground museum located below the two statues. See http://english.seoul.go.kr/gtk/news/news_view.php?idx=6280

It was been a very active first day in Korea and we head back to Chongyechonno riverwalk for a laser light show on the water before heading back to the hotel. Great day! Seoul rocks!

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