At the Purcari Winery in the village of Purcari, Moldova. Photo taken December 7, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Last day in Korea

Sitting at Seoul's Incheon International airport, awaiting our flight to Seattle, USA.

We had a great last day in Seoul. We went and visited a palace, then an interactive museum, then dinner with friends...a fantastic way to end our first visit to Asia!

The Changdeokgung Palace is another UNESCO world heritage site. We were a little hesitant because they wanted 8,000 won ($8.80) each to see both the palace and the "Secret Garden". But we were pleasantly surprised when we got to the ticket booth and found out that the last Wednesday of each month is "cultural day" and there is free admission to the palace grounds. That meant we only had to pay the 5,000 won ($5.50) each for the secret Garden tour.

Main building at Changdeokgung Palace.

Nice wandering around the grounds, but we've seen so many palaces and temples over the last four weeks that they all begin to look the same. And part of the problem with this particular one is that everything was burnt to the ground during the Japanese invasion of 1592. Rebuilt and burnt again several times over the next few centuries, with the most recent fires being in 1917. So there's not much in the way of original structures or artifacts here. In fact, most of the rooms are empty.

Did find this room with some sparse furnishings.

And this neat looking mother of pearl couch.

Lots of these little statues decorating some of the roof structure.

Another part of the palace. Like I said, most of the buildings are empty.

To get into the Secret Garden, you need to buy a ticket and you can only enter as part of your tour group. So of course we signed up for the English language tour at 1:30pm, and entered with that group. But then as soon as we entered, the guide said that we were also free to explore on our own so we're not quite sure why you can only enter as part of the group.

We stayed with the group for the first four or five stops of the hour and a half long tour, but figured that we weren't learning much and so we went off on our own.

The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden isn't really a garden, it's actually a park. But, it's a nice park for wandering around for an hour or so.

Our tour group. We didn't hang around with them very long!

Still some beautiful fall colors.

So we left the palace and walked to Tong-in market where we had read that you could buy 5,000 won ($5.50) worth of special coins that could only be used to buy lunch at different stalls in the market. So you could eat a buffet style meal of some of the different foods being sold.

But as we were walking, we went past another palace, and they were doing the changing of the guard!


Changing of the guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace

This vendor had a lot of choices!

So you go around to all of the different vendors, and they take one, two, or three of your special coins depending on what items you choose. Your 5,000 won doesn't really go very far, but there is a lot of choice and you end up with a decent lunch. We were going for dinner with June and Park, so we shared a lunch between us.

The only problem was the "gluten free" thing. Really difficult to figure out what might have wheat flour and what might not, so I used google translate and got the Korean translation for the question "does this contain wheat flour" and used the iPhone to pose the question to the different vendors!

Nope, no gluten here.

So on the bottom left it's some kind of egg and seafood dish, and the bottom right is like a pork stew of some kind. Then roasted eggplant (we think) in the one cup, and pineapple in the other. And on the left is five rice cakes for dessert!

The, we went to meet June at the Alive Museum. This is a franchise attraction that lets you become part of a 3D art display. The idea is to get interactive with the display, and then take a photo of it! Best visited with a group of three or four people!

There are probably 50 different displays, so we have a lot of pictures. We'll show you a few of the better ones here...

Ruth, doing Mona's hair.

June, still in the womb!

Kevin...computer geek!

Ruth.

June, with the puppeteer.

Kevin, going through the gears!

Ruth of Arabia!

Kevin, crossing the rickety bridge.

June's boyfriend Park joined us there when he finished work...

Park, proposing to June. She said no because the diamond isn't big enough!

Too funny.

Self portrait.

Kevin and the last straw.

Ha ha. Park.

These Korean parents don't look very impressed with their child!

Park, in outer space.

Definitely a fun way to spend a few hours. Wouldn't want to have been there when the place is really busy because it takes a fair amount of effort and set up time at each display to ensure that the picture turns out the way it's supposed to. But if you can get there at a quiet time of day, then it's a lot of fun. We were there on a Wednesday evening between 5:30pm and 8:30pm, and it was okay. Weekends would probably be too busy to be worthwhile.

Afterwards, we went out for dinner. Had a huge pot of spicy chicken stew...it was really good and we enjoyed the company!

Park,. June, Ruth, and Kevin.

Thanks so much to June and Park for making our stay in Korea so memorable. And of course to all of the other people we interacted with during the last four weeks. We had such a wonderful time with all of you. It was a great trip!

Next post will be from Seattle, Washington, USA!






44 comments:

  1. What a fantastic journey we all have had - loved the 3rd Photos - classic - thank you both for all your efforts- I know I have enjoyed it every step of the way.....safe travels home - see you on the other side. Cheers...lesalp.blogspot.com.au

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    1. Thank you Leslie, we are glad that you enjoyed our adventures. We totally enjoyed our trip as well and look forward to returning again one day to see the other places that we didn't have time for on this trip.

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  2. What a fun way to spend a few hours, interesting photos.

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    1. It was a fun day, and we really had a great time.

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  3. Those 3D places are fun, we wanted to get to one but just didn't have time!
    We, however, also managed to get lucky and catch the changing of the guard at Gyeongbokgung!
    Welcome back to North America! :-)

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    1. Thanks for the welcome back Esther. We did have a fun time at the Alive Museum but we also found some of the pictures/exhibits a bit lame at times and others quite good.

      It was definitely a bonus being able to catch the changing of the guard. The outfits were so colourful!

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  4. Man, can't believe four weeks have gone by so fast. Enjoyed the pictures. Appreciate the effort.

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    1. Thank you Bob! We can't believe that the four weeks went by so fast as well.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your trip, I loved being part of it! Safe travels!

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    1. You're welcome Kay, so glad you enjoyed our psots.

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  6. Another great post - another great day - we are sad that the trip is over - it was SOOOOOO amazing & fun!!!
    Thanks for sharing with us!

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    1. We are sad it is over too. There is still so much that we want to see there, looks like we will just have to return again one day.

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  7. The 3D pictures are very neat. Safe travels.

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    1. Thanks Ray and Cindy, we were pretty happy with the way some of them turned out. It certainly was a fun time going through the museum.

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  8. We are so lucky to have friends like you. I hope to see you soon in Mexico! :-P Safe trip!

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    1. We are the lucky ones June! Thank you so much for everything and we hope to see you again, hopefully in Mexico because we can't wait to show you around there.

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  9. Awesome trip!! Thank you for taking us along to see wonderful sights and meet wonderful people!!

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    1. You are welcome Rita, we are happy you enjoyed.

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  10. The experience of a lifetime. So very special. Thanks for sharing with us all.

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    1. It was definitely an experience and one we won't forget. We look forward to returning one day to see all the things that we missed because four weeks just wasn't long enough.

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  11. Kevin appears to be playing with something other than the keyboard in that computer shot. How bizarre!

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    1. I noticed that in the picture as well and this was before Kevin even went to pose. There were definitely some strange pictures/exhibits that I thought were a little off, shall I say.

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  12. hello friends. good trip and safe return . the hope in toluca valley and bravo . regards

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    1. Gracias Paco y Oty, nos lo pasamos muy bien. Mirando adelante a verle el próximo mes.

      Thank you Paco and Oty, we had a great time. Looking forward to seeing you next month.

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  13. I enjoyed reading your posts on South Korea. That looks like quite a lunch for five bucks!

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    1. Thank you Judy. It was pretty good value for the money and quite tasty.

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  14. What a tremendous last day. It will be nice to go back through your trip to Korea in years to come.

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    1. It was an excellent day to finish off our trip. We agree, it will be fun looking back on our photos and posts from this trip

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  15. You certainly made the most of your time in Korea, thanks for taking us all along! :c)

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    1. Thank you Paul and Marti. We think that we did, yet sometimes we feel like we only touched the tip of the iceberg. There is still so much there that we wanted to see but just didn't have the time for.

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  16. The Alive Museum is fabulous. I Love the photos you all posed in what a hoot.

    I have truly enjoyed following along with your visit to Korea. What a fascinating, exciting, beautiful country. Safe travels home.

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    1. The Alive Museum was a really good laugh. We had such a great time just trying to get the poses right and then looking at the pictures after was half the fun. It will be interesting to see if this ends up making it's way over to the US or Canada.

      South Korea is a gorgeous country and has lots of history. We think it is a great place for someone to go to for a visit. We found it clean, affordable and fairly easy to get around on public transportation and it is not over run by tourists.

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  17. Great pictures and wonderful memories for you! Ruth, in the Mona Lisa picture of you, I can see a definite resemblance to your Mom.

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    1. There are many times that I look at myself now and see my Mum.

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  18. What a great way to end your trip! Looks like you guys really made the best of it. Can't wait to see you here in Mexico!

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    1. Yep, we had a fantastic last day of our trip. Wish we had more time to see the rest of the country, I guess that will have to wait for another trip.

      Hope we are able to meet up in Mexico too! Have fun with Teresa, Derek and Cassia!

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  19. Neat last day in Korea - safe travels! I am really looking forward to your Mexico posts as our trip has now been delayed indefinitely due to expanding family :) Please ensure to eat lots of awesome Mexican food and drink!

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    1. It was a great last day! It won't be long before we are back in Mexico and we are looking forward to it as well.

      Sorry that your trip has been delayed but I am sure it is worth it to have your step daughter living with you permanently now. No worries, we will certainly be having our share and showing pictures to prove it.

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  20. Welcome back to the western hemisphere!

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    1. Thanks Dugg. It seems so strange to be hearing English all around us now, we are actually feeling a little bit of culture shock.

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  21. Changdeokgung Palace looks like a nice place to spend time, but that 3D place is hilariously fun ... glad you shared so many of the photos you took there. Safe travels.

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    1. It was a a beautiful place to spend the morning wandering around. W love the setting in the "Secret Garden"

      The Alive Museum was a lot of fun, it's great place for a rainy day.

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  22. Great trip to Korea I had,( tagging along in your blog).Have a safe trip home (to sherman that is)and wellcome back..

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    1. So glad that you enjoyed tagging along with us. We were happy to share our adventures with you and all of our other readers.

      We can't wait to get back to Sherman! We really have been missing him.

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