May 6, 2019
Alright, alright. No more time travelling. No more half days. We’re here. We’re actually here, and we took full advantage today. We’ve done so much, I can hardly remember it all. I guess it’s a good thing I’ll have a digital record after my blog is complete.
Anyhow, the actual content. Our day started with a tour of the ancient Joseon Dynasty era Gyeongbokgung Palace. As the royal palace for most of the early second millennium, it served as the home to many famous emperors of Korea. Once there, we had the opportunity to watch a ceremonial rendition of the changing of the guard. What a great way to start! Really sets the tone for all the history and tradition we’re going to witness during our two weeks here.
After the palace tour, our guides took us to the Cheonggyecheon Stream. While the title “stream” may not seem like much, it’s location and background are pretty cool. The waterway travels right through the heart of Seoul, cutting like a divide across the downtown streets and vendors. Back in the early days, when Seoul was more of a collection of villages, locals used the stream for everything. Between washing themselves, their clothes, and I guess relieving their bowls too, the stream became pretty dirty. When things got too bad, some genius decided the waterway should be covered. So, what did they do? Well they found the obvious solution, of course! They covered the entire thing in concrete. Yeah, I don’t think it makes much sense either. Anyhow, pretty recently, a mayor of Seoul decided the stream should be returned to its former glory. No sense in keeping a gigantic concrete eyesore standing for too long, I guess. About 10 years ago, they dug the whole thing back up, and restored the stream. Nowadays, you can find plenty of locals walking, jogging, or biking down the stream as traditional art hangs along the walkways.
Weird stories aside, today was a pretty great day. Check back in tomorrow to see what else this city has to offer!