I haven't been hiking in about 3 weeks! Can't say i'm too sad about it, but it was my only form of physical fitness. I spent my weekend is Seoul, surprise, surprise. The sights I saw were the Myeongdong Cathedral, Dongdaemun Market, Sungnyemun Gate, Hwangudan and Gyeongbukgung Palace.
The first stop was to the Myeongdong Cathedral. Even though I am not Catholic I can appreciate the beauty of a Catholic Church. They are always so beautiful! Great architecture and I love the stained glass.
After seeing the cathedral we walked through Myongdong, where i've been the past 2 weekends before lol. We didn't do any shopping, just passed through. This week is welcome week apparently. This is when a lot of foreigners come to South Korea, so they were giving away guide books and coupons for free.
After Myeongdong we just walked around in the area since we have never been here. It's a great area to people watch especially rich people watch since we were in an high end area.
Then we went to Shinshegae Mall. This is a luxurious mall for people who have high budgets to indulge on high fashion. Of course every girl's dream! They only have high end stores like Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, etc. I will definitely be back!
Next we went to the Sungnyemun Gate. This gate is literally in the middle of the the road. You will usually see it on the bus. It's close to Myeongdong. This is 1 of the 8 gates in the Fortress wall of Seoul. So as you can imagine, the Fortress must be HUGE!
After hanging around Myeongdong we went on our way. We were walking to Gyeongbukgung Palace. There was a lot of things to see on the way. We stopped at the Westin Chosun Hotel, which surprisingly had an altar behind it. It is called Hwangudan; this is where the King would perform the rite to heaven.
These were some random pictures I took on the way to the palace. I loved this Starbucks roof, so I had to take a picture. I also took a picture of this modern hotel, it looked really cool. I can't remember what the building in the middle picture is, but as we were walking by there was a whole bunch of yellow ribbon in the park to remember those who died in the ferry accident last month.
Some more random pictures on my walk to the palace. The first picture shows people where they can be safe if North Korea ever attacks. The second picture is apparently something that happens on the regular; the police are out doing their regular training, just in case something were to happen with North Korea.
The last picture is of a little girl. This statue represents the young girls and women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Military. Behind the girl you can see a shadow, which is supposed to be a grandmother watching over the girl.
Finally it was time to go to Gyeongbukgung Palace. There is an entrance fee of 3,000 Won ($3), so it is not expensive. This was the first palace built by the Joseon Dynasty in 1359. It is the largest out of the Joseon Palaces and was the main Palace.
These are pictures of the Geunjeongjeon Pavilion, which is where the King had his throne. You can see the interior in the two last pictures, and also see the King's throne. On the ceiling you can see a gold dragon; to Koreans the dragon represents power and vitality which is why you see it a lot under gates, pavilions, etc.
These were the most beautiful pictures I think I have ever taken. This Palace is beautiful. You can get some great pictures if you go when the sun is out. The first picture is of Gyeonghoeru Pavilion which is on the Korean 10,000 banknote! It was used as space for the King to throw his banquets.
The next picture is of Hyangwonjeong Pavilion. This place was used as the King's own private oasis. The last picture is of Jagyeongjeon Hall, which is where the King's Mother lived. Right now there is a beautiful garden back there with all that amazing stone work on the walls.
This place is very busy with tourists from all over the world. Make sure to go early, there is a lot to see. The Palace closes at 6 pm but the times change as per season. This is a MUST see if you come to Korea.
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