Monday, March 9, 2015

Seoul Tour Guide for a Day

"It's a small world after all...." (you're welcome, for that ear worm. Ha ha!)

I got to play "Seoul Tour Guide" for a day when my friend Daryle came to town for a business trip. She and I know each other as members of our music fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota. My initial reaction (after the "Yay!") was, "How on Earth can I show her all of the awesomeness that is Seoul in one day?!". Well, here is how I attempted to do it.

Our first stop was Gwanghwamun Square and Gyeongbokgung Palace for some history and traditional architecture. I had her throw the peace sign, as that is a requirement for a true Korean photo op.

And then we had to do the obligatory selfie - say "Kimchee!".

We timed it just right (this was pure dumb luck) and the palace guards were performing the changing of the guard ceremony.

The musicians:

This was also my first time catching the whole ceremony, so here's a quick video clip of the music portion:

I took some different pictures of the various statues and adornments on this trip:

Ceiling of the entry gate

We headed over to the National Palace Museum for a quick tour through Korea's royal history and to grab a quick cup of coffee.

Giant water clock

We headed back to the subway, where I snapped this lovely guardian on the tunnel wall, and rode over to Insadong for some shopping and lunch at Gogung, a Korean restaurant.

We were fortunate that there was a free performance scheduled at the Seoul Global Cultural Center that afternoon, so we hopped back on the subway and headed to Myeongdong. The show was traditional samulnori, with five musicians on various percussion instruments.

The instruments are the Kwaengwari (small, handheld gong), Jing (large gong), Buk (large round drum), and the Janggu (two-sided drum). The program moved through four different stages: 
--Binari: a Korean song sung to introduce the Samul performance and bring blessings
--Andaemi Machum: a group performance on the janggu, to drive away evil spirits
--Samulnori: playing the sounds of nature and symbolizing Korean's joyousness and harmony
--Samulpangoot: playing while dancing and giving movement to their headwear (Sangmo)

I was able to catch a few decent videos of the Binari and the Samulpangoot - enjoy!

At this point, we had had a pretty full day, but Daryle was game for more, so we walked over towards Namsan Tunnel #3 and took the free Ohreumi Elevator to the cable car station. 

Still smiling!

This was another first for me that day - a nice, easy climb to the top!

The cable car comes out by a cafe with a section of the locks of love, right behind the former signal station.

I think this is my favorite shot of N Seoul Tower!

And the view was great!

We ended our day with a harrowing ride in a taxi (I was giving her the true Korean experience, after all!) down to Itaewon for some dinner before heading home on the subway. 
 My Fitbit hit 19,000+ steps that day - whew - a full day, indeed!

And because I'm just slightly evil, remember: "It's a small word after all..."    :)

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