Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Friday, September 08, 2017

Essential Seoul, WTRD 5 of 49, September 8, 2017



This morning, we awoke at 4:00 am.  It's getting better!  By tomorrow morning, we hope to sleep until at least 6:00.  From 4:00 until 9:00 we had a leisurely morning until our tour guide Ms Hana and driver picked us up for the Essential Seoul Tour.  There were three of us on the tour, Russ, me, and a Polish-Now New Zealand woman, Ewa.

Buddhist Temple

Our first stop was the largest Buddhist Temple in Seoul, Jogye Temple, The buildings and grounds were beautiful and well kept. 



 The Golden Buddhas presided over a temple  filled with women (one man) sitting silently on mats reading prayers or contemplations.


Women in grey smocks carried in food donations on their heads for the monks and were busy organizing the food and laying it along large side bars on both sides of the temple.



After seeing this temple and many others from around Southeast Asia, we decided if we were going to be monks, it would be from this well organized temple.  In many of the other countries, monks are required to beg for food and faithful donate to them either by leaving offerings in the temple or handouts as the monks pass through town.  This temple looked very well stocked.


Population

Our guide told us that 50% of Korean population is Catholic, Christian, or Buddhists.  The other 50% are not religious.  South Korea's population is approximately 50,000,000 million people.  Ten million people live in Seoul, but on any given day, there are usually 25,000,000 million people (working commuters, tourists, dignitaries) in Seoul.  Land is a premium, apartments are small and expensive, and they are packed with people.

Main Palace - Changing of the Guard

Changdeokgung Palace 
Built in 1405 by King Taejong, Changdeokgung Palace was designed to blend harmoniously with the natural environment. While much of the complex was destroyed by fire in the Japanese invasion in 1592, it was rebuilt in 1609 and has since been restored to its original splendor. The main palace of Gyeongbokgung was also destroyed in 1593, and for 300 years beginning in 1609, Changdeokgung served as the seat of power while Gyeongbokgung was being rebuilt. It served as the seat of royalty again in 1907 by King Sunjong, the last king of Korea.

UNESCO designated Changdeokgung Palace a World Heritage site in 1997 for its unique palace architecture. It’s the best preserved of Seoul’s five remaining Joseon palaces, with the royal family residences, public area and gardens open to visitors. 
 From Viator Tours

As we approached the main palace, we inquired about the men and women wearing traditional Korean clothing walking about amongst others in contemporary clothing.  Hana told us that there are many shops in Korea that rent the traditional clothing for the day.  If tourists wear the costumes, they get free admission to the Palaces.  The cost of the costume exceeds Palace admissions, but everyone loves to have themselves photographed in the palaces wearing the  traditional clothing.  Everyone wearing traditional dress whether Korean, Japanese, Europeans, young, old, all looked like they were having loads of fun preening in front of cameras.



As we passed through Gwanghwamun Gate and back in time with a tour of Gyeongbok Palace, former residence of Joseon Dynasty royalty, a group of girls wearing traditional dress were posing for photos.

I stood beside the official photographer and snapped a few photos at the end of the session when the kids were growing weary.  The girl with her hands up to her cheeks came up to me and indicated that she wanted to see the photo I took.  I showed her.  She put her hands and arms over her head to form a heart, and said in English "I love you".

Russ and I posed for a photo as well after the changing of the guards.




We spent most of the morning wandering the palace grounds, peeking into buildings and trying to imagine life in this palace.





Hana told us about the Korean written language.  

It was in this building, that the King assembled language experts to develop a new written language called Hangul.  It would not be complicated like the Chinese system nor pictographs.  It would be a phonetic based writing.  There are 24 letters in Hangul, 14 consonants and 10 vowels (unlike English where one vowel may have 2-3 sounds), each of the vowels in Hangul has one unique sound.

After our palace visit, we waited for our driver to pick us up outside one of the side gates.  There was this funny little sculpture on which children love to climb.  We got a kick out of it, although it is questionable that the symbolism of this sculpture is really meant for children.   See what you think.  I can think of a couple of cheeky political captions.


Our guide took us to a nice little restaurant in a back alley for lunch.



Our individual plates had some meat, fried egg, carrots , and greens.  We were to dump in sticky rice, mix it all together, and eat it with different garnishes and sauces.  It was very tasty.

Following lunch, we had an opportunity to try on Korean traditional clothing.  Russ wears a hat that is designated for a King.


After posing and dancing around in our costumes, we were driven to the top of one of the highest points in Seoul, Bugak Skyway atop Bugak Mountain for panoramic views of the city.  It was a hazy day, so visibility was not terrific, but it gave us a sense of how densely populated Seoul is.







The last historical visit of the day was in a section of town where 600 year old restored and privately owned homes were built, Bukchon Hanok Village, well-preserved traditional Korean buildings.
Ying, Yang Architecture



The last stop of the day was in the largest shopping area in Korea.  It was filled with stores and consumers.  Consumerism for cars, cosmetics, designer clothes, and just about everything else has to be off the charts here. There were dozens of blocks of high end stores.


Tomorrow, we start our 8 Day Tour around the Korean Peninsula.

All is Well With the Worrall Travel R's in South Korea.

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