Seoul City Sights

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Over the week-end when my daughter wasn’t working, we wandered into the city to do a little shopping and spend some of this.  I just love the look of foreign currency!IMG_2058She also wanted to take me to the City Hall Building.   Sounds a little strange to want to visit City Hall, but the new building has a unique architectural design….it resembles a “wave” and has an observation deck good for city viewing. Continue reading

Crossing the Line

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Time for another USO tour.  I almost didn’t take this tour….David had taken this tour a few years ago when he was on a business trip to Seoul.  He loved it, but I wasn’t sure it was for me.  It involved the military….touring a military facility.  Hmmmm, not my thing.  But when you have the chance to do something that not many people can do….unless you go on this tour, which is one of the most popular tours in Seoul, I decided to go.  And what is this thing that not many people can claim to have done?  Why actually step foot in North Korea!

The USO tour I took was the DMZ & JSA tour (Korean Demilitarized Zone and Joint Security Area).  You have to sign up for this tour at least 4 days in advance so your passport can be checked and you can be cleared by security to go.  Continue reading

Play Ball!….in Korea

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I like baseball…but not to play (I catch and throw with the same hand, so nobody would want me on their team).  But I do like to watch baseball…in person, not on television.  My husband likes baseball too.  So when we are home, we often go to watch our local AAA team, The Norfolk Tides.  (yes, that is a helicopter landing on the field to let off the local TV anchor to make the first pitch).IMG_2318 Continue reading

Let’s Go Back in Time….Korean Time (Part 2)

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Welcome back!  I’m still at the Korean Folk Village (at least in this post).  I left you eating lunch…so are you ready for the rest of the afternoon?  If you remember this living history village covers about 25 acres, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there is a lot of open space and well…nature.   Continueing on through the village, we walked past this waterfall. IMG_1505 Continue reading

Let’s Go Back in Time…Korean Time (Part 1)

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Seoul is a vibrant city…busy day and night.  I’ve heard it described as a city that never sleeps.  Buildings are big and modern, The main streets are wide and the subway system is jam packed most of the time. IMG_0790IMG_0791Side streets can be packed with small restaurants, shops and people….lots of people. But it wasn’t always this way.  If you want to see how the Korean people lived and worked hundreds of years ago, it’s worth the trip to Minok Village, a traditional Korean Folk Village….a living museum of history. Continue reading

The Palace, The Folk Museum, The Blue House and more!

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Welcome back as I continue my USO Tour of the Historic Sights in Seoul.  After visiting the Jogyesa Temple, our tour continued to the largest of the five Palaces located in Seoul, Gyeongbokgung Palace.  Built in 1395, it was the first royal palace built by the Joseon Dynasty in the newly appointed capital of Hanyang, (which is now known as Seoul).  The Palace served as the Royal residence until several Japanese invasions between 1592-1598 that caused severe damage.  Almost 300 years later in 1868 the palace was reconstructed and expanded to a complex that included 500 buildings.  But the Japanese invaded again and destroyed the palace again during the years that they occupied Korea (1910-1945).  Starting in 1990, the Korean government began a 40 year project to rebuild and restore the buildings that were destroyed during the Japanese occupation…so they are just a little over 1/2 way there.

This is an inside view of the gate, called Gwanhwamun Gate that serves as the entrance to the Palace grounds.IMG_0863 Continue reading

Touring at the Temple

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When you don’t want to do all the work of touring around by yourself in a new city armed with a good map and a list of “sights to see”, then it’s time to let someone else do the work for you.  It’s time to take a tour.  While I was in Seoul, a city with a US Army base in the middle of the city…I took advantage of taking several tours hosted by the USO (United Service Organization).IMG_1770The first tour I took was what they called the  Historic Sights Tour.  So at my appointed day and time, I showed up at the USO and hopped on the little tour bus with 7 other people and our guide and we were off. Continue reading

War Memorial of Korea

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One of my favourite ways to explore a new city is to take a walk…so one of my first official acts of being a tourist in Seoul and check out the sights was to go someplace within walking distance….so off to the War Memorial of Korea I went.  Although the name makes its sound like it’s just a statue like the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington Virginia, or something bigger like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., this memorial is actually much more…it’s multiple statuesIMG_0615, plus a memorial building (museum) and children’s’ museum Continue reading

Simply Seoul

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Finally getting to a place where I can get a few thoughts down.  So here goes….A month ago I took a trip…a long trip….one 13+ hour flight to Tokyo, Japan, and then another shorter 2 1/2 hour plane trip to Seoul, South Korea.  This little fluff ball, Lane,  also took the trip.  She was ready to be reunited with her “Mom”.IMG_0548Lane is a seasoned traveller, and was so excited to travel again that she hopped into her carrier while we were driving to the airport.  She has never done that before.  I think she was ready to be going to her new home. Continue reading

Magic by Night…Lantern Asia

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At the end of March, and about a week before I left to go to Korea, David and I made a visit to see a special exhibit at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens called Lantern Asia. It’s been described as “Art by Day, Magic by Night”.  I didn’t see it during the day, so I can’t testify to the “Art by Day, but it is really “Magic by Night”, because the works of art are lit up.  Please excuse the quality of my pictures…they were taken with a phone and while I was trying to balance an umbrella, not the easiest feat..(try squinting, the pictures might look less fuzzy)  These displays are along the drive into the Botanical Gardens. 

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