On my Step-dad’s last day of secretly saving the world, or whatever it is he and his colleagues where here to do, we met up for a day in Seoul.
We started with a tour from Mr. Lee at the Korean War Memorial Museum and later made our way to Gwanghwamun Square to visit one of the ancient royal palaces of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeongbokgung Palace. Really I had the most fun, getting out of sleepy Cheongju and just walking around Seoul’s busy streets, talking about my first few weeks in Korea.
With our tour guide, Mr. Lee. You could tell he really knew what he was talking about, in the details he gave. Which is why I was a little disappointed when he kept insisting this or that was boring and so he wouldn’t go into it. I wanted him to go into it! We were there specifically for that. Even though it did feel a little rushed, I was still able to gain a better perspective of the history of the Korean War as well as what it meant for Korean People.
Video depiction of the Battle on the Han River
Looks like a graphic you’d see in the video game Call of Duty, but it was effective in illustrating how the capital city of Seoul was taken and of the scale of the battle.
A sculpture made out of dog tags called Nun’Mul Bang’Ul, The Drop
“In remembrance of the Korean soldiers and UN military participants who lost their lives in the Korean War, the respect towards the warriors (1,300 identification tags) has been embodied as tear drops. The iron thorns symbolise the horror, suppression and danger of the tragic war. The circle on the sand below represents the wave of the drop.”
No shortages of soju (Korean rice liquor) during wartime.
Outside, a gallery of the tanks, airplanes and ships from the war, sort of just places anywhere they seemed to fit.
A view of Namsan Mountain and Namsan Tower between rows of tanks
Passing bowls of assorted eels alongside baskets of grain and random bundles of cookware and toys on our way to the seafood market.
Seoul Fish Market
This was not what we expected. A lot of the sea creatures were dead in their bowls.
Seoul’s seafood market is not Busan’s seafood market.
Sculpture of King Sejeong (who formed the Korean Alphabet along with many other inventions) at Gwanghwamun Square.
Inside Gyeongbukgung Palace
The heat caught up to my company who was already drained from a twenty-four hour exercise and our constant on-foot touring, so we cut the visit to the palace short and never found our way to the “Secret Garden” where the king’s harems resided. I remember it being remarkably beautiful when I went in 2011. I’ll make a more thorough search through the deliberately misleading paths when the autumnal weather is more forgiving. But you can see the roof of “The Blue House” where the leader of the Republic of Korea lives is nestled at the base of this mountain.