Mom & Dad in Korea, Part 1: Seoul

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting my parents here in Korea. It was wonderful to be able to show them around some of the country I have come to know and love over the past year and a half. They flew into Seoul, where I met them on Friday night. My mother will likely do a detailed write-up of the trip on her own blog so I will keep my comments short and focus on the pictures, which were taken by all three of us.

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A hotel room for three. Mom did a great job picking the spot—it was right in the middle of central Seoul!

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An interesting thing to see in your hotel room.

Our first stop on Saturday was one of Seoul’s finest palaces, Cheongbokgung. My parents enjoyed the refined architecture and natural setting of the palace, despite the freezing weather.

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Ondol, the traditional Korean floor heating system.

As part of our visit to Changdeokgung Palace, we went on a tour of Huwon, the Secret Garden. This garden was used exclusively by the royal family and, up until recently, the public was not allowed inside.

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Dad beneath the Gate of Eternal Youth.

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A 750-year-old tree on the palace grounds.

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Our next stop was the traditional district of Bukcheon. This area is visually very interesting because of mixture of traditional and modern architecture that can be seen around every corner.

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Bibimbab (mixed rice) for lunch in Bukcheon.

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We had red bean soup and tangerines to celebrate the winter solstice.

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People wrote their names or wishes on pictures of red bean soup bowls.

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The streets of Bukcheon.

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As the day was winding down, we made a visit to Gwanghwamun, Seoul’s most famous gate, and the nearby Gwanghwamun Square. This is the heart of central Seoul.

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My parents beneath a statue of King Sejong, inventor of the Korean alphabet and Korea’s most famous king.

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Notice the riot police on either side of the statue. There was a large protest going on while we were there.

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Looking south. Admiral Yi Sun-sin surveys his city.

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Cheonggyecheon stream.

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Here’s some footage of the protest that was going on near Cheonggyecheon stream:

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Our final stop for the night would be a performance of NANTA, a mixture between Iron Chef and Stomp. During the show, they called Dad up onto the stage to participate!

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The cast of NANTA.

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The next day we made our way to N Seoul Tower, which offers a great view of the city.

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On the subway.

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Inside Seoul Station.

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They had a Dunkin Donuts in Seoul Station!

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N Seoul Tower.

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An angel trumpeter made out of lights beneath N Seoul Tower.

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Love locks beneath the tower.

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A guy was playing South American music beneath the tower—not what you’d expect to hear in Korea!

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A group of workers repairing the road leading up to the tower.

Our final stop in Seoul would be the National Museum of Korea. My parents appreciated getting an overview of Korea’s long and complex history.

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Outside the museum.

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The view of N Seoul Tower from the museum.

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Interested students on a school trip to the museum.

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A replica of Korea’s throne inside the museum.

After two full days in Seoul, we took the train down to Busan. Our adventures continue….

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