Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Boy that was a great trip to Seoul!  Vicky and I .....

You:  "Hey wait a minute!!  When did you go to Seoul??"
Me:  "This past weekend."
You:  "Wait wait wait!  Why haven't I heard about this in your previous updates?"
Me:  "Because Vicky and I decided we wanted to go on short notice."
You:  "Define 'short notice'."
Me:  "About 2 days before we actually left."
You:  "Ah.  That explains a lot.  Carry on."

As I was saying, we had a great time in Seoul.  We decided on an impromptu trip earlier in the week when we realized that  A) the weather is still nice right now but won't be for much longer  B) the fall foliage is looking lovely and could produce some truly impressive scenery  C) this would be one of our few remaining chances to see Seoul before April-May  D) we REALLY missed American food!

The entrance gate to Gyeongbokgung

A closeup of the gate and the guards

So with those motivations (mostly D) we got tickets a couple days ahead of time, packed extremely lightly (as in half of one of those sack backpacks light) and flew out early Saturday morning.  The weather Saturday was absolutely gorgeous!  Sunny and clear.  A perfect day to go out and see the sights.  And that we did.  We arrived in Seoul around 9:45 and headed straight for Gyeongbokgung, the main palace of the city.  We wondered around staying in general proximity to the English tour but mostly doing our own thing.

We had to split off to see things like this

The changing of the guards, Korean-style

After about 2 hours of exploring we headed for the most exciting part of the weekend, On The Border!!!  After months without Mexican food it was like manna from heaven!  After lunch and a quick stop to secure a hostel for the night, we headed for the 2nd biggest palace in the city, Changdoekgung.  We were hoping to see the secret garden behind the palace but it was closed when we arrived.  Which turned out to be a blessing in disguise since in wondering around the grounds outside we found even more spectacular pictures of the changing of the seasons.

This is just one of many Changdeokgung pictures

 These girls came up to us as we were heading into the palace and asked us to take a survey for a school project.  Naturally we said yes, helped them, then posed for pictures together.  We even had a request from a random Chinese woman to pose for a picture.  Not with her.  She just wanted a picture of Vicky and I.

After the sun set on us there we headed for the foreigner district and a huge plate of BBQ Ribs (have i mentioned we were excited about the food?).  After an great meal (and getting to watch an NBA game while eating no less) we headed for our final stop of the day, Seoul Tower.  The hike up was rough on our sore feet but the view was breath-taking and well worth it.  After that it was finally time to head back and get some sleep.

Seoul Tower at night 

The next morning the weather wasn't nearly as nice, opting for cloudy, windy and cold (aka horrible picture weather).  Fortunately we had planned for this and spent the day eating more of the food we so desperately missed (Subway, apple pie and more Mexican food), finding excellent coffee for Vicky and exploring a large outdoor shopping district.  We even bought a few small things.  After the frantic activity of the day before, a more relaxed exploratory day was just what we needed.  Amazingly we caught a 6:30 flight home and arrived back the day after we left with plenty of time to relax before going to work the next afternoon.

One tiny part of a city of 25 million people

Overall a wildly successful trip to Seoul and a great first mini-vacation together for Vicky and I.  It really makes me look forward to future trips with her.  In the past when I used to travel all over the place I always wished for someone to share those experiences with.  Thanks to Vicky, I don't think that way anymore.  Now i'm just counting my blessings.

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