And here we are at long last - the FINAL post of the Korea Trip 2010 series - the last leg of my journey. I got a little tired of lugging a camera around so towards the end of my trip so my picture taking got sporadic.... In any case, by this time I was back in Seoul and visited some actual tourist attractions ^_^:
The pic on the left is the Chosun Ilbo newspaper building. They have an English version of their paper in America if you're curious, though quite frankly, the quality of their journalism leaves a lot to be desired.
The pic in the middle is quite a famous tourist attraction in Gwanghwamun Plaza: a statue of Admiral Yi Sun Shin, a well-loved Joseon era military commander. His claim to fame is inventing turtle ships :D If you want to learn more about this segment of Korean history in a fairly amusing way, you can watch the kdrama Immortal Admiral Yi Sun. I didn't watch it, but my dad loved it >_> Anyway, you can't tell from the picture but this statue is located right between two roads (here's a better pic from Little Bow). It's not that hard to cross though it is intimidating having cars speeding past you in two directions. It's worth the journey though, especially during the summer, because the statue is surrounded by fountains you cool yourself in ^_^
I forgot what the little building on the right is called. However, I will say that I loved seeing all those traditional buildings sandwiched between all the high rises... I want to say something poetic about cultural tradition holding fast against the relentless forward thrust of modernism, but some things you just have to see for yourself to understand :)
Previous post: Part 21: How Koreans Eat Italian Food
To start from the beginning: Part 1: Flying to Tokyo
The pic with the gold statue is actually the same location as the pic above it. The gold statue is of King Sejong the Great, probably Korea's most famous king (almost every saeguk takes place during his reign), which is located right behind the Admiral Yi Sun statue.
Trivia: King Sejong invented hangul aka Korea writing as we know it! To get a dose of history in a fun a way, watch the kdrama Tree With Deep Roots (Jang Hyuk! Jang Hyuk!). Or just read the recaps ;)
Anyway, you should visit the King Sejong and Admiral Yi Sun statues because it's a twofer :)
More super tall buildings and a twisty slide. I wonder if anybody actually uses that slide as an exit.... heheh
A little booth selling gum, newspaper, etc. What's cool about this one though is that it had a built in fridge instead of ice boxes for cold drinks, which I haven't seen in America.
Something else I noticed and admired very much in Seoul was how well integrated bike paths are. The red strip you see in the 2nd pic is the bike path. Whereas in America, bikers must stick to that narrow strip of concrete by the road (or worse, just peddle madly away in the street with impatient drivers), Seoul has designated bike paths located right next to generously wide walking path, safely away from cars. Given, Seoul has a lot more bike riders and walkers, but I hope America finds some inspiration here for future urban planning.
Speaking of, Washington DC has really ramped up their game for bikers in the last year, thanks to Capital Bikeshare, and have been retro-actively creating bike paths all around the capitol. I used to see cars bloody parking in designated bike paths but after popping up line dividers, thankfully cars are no longer doing that. Yah for fewer cars!
And of course, here's a few more meals I had along the way. The panini was really awful though. It was first and only panini I had in Korea at some trendy cafe in Seoul. It was basically really thin, barely toasted slices of broad with a miniscule layer of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese in-between (huzzah! cheese!).
In hindsight, I really, really wish I tried some McDonalds and Pizza Hut Korea! Goddamn it, my aunts pretty much refused to let me eat at any Western chain restaurants since they figured I ate American food all the time. True, but there are no bulgogi burgers or sweet potato pizzas in America :((((((((((((( McDonalds Bulgogi and Shanghai Spicy Chicken Burgers are only available in Korea, though ironically, the Shanghai Spicy Chicken is the bestseller ;) Next time!
And of course...more sweets. Migo was a little booth in a Seoul Shinsaegae I think. I get mixed up. Anyway, the cakes are just beautiful! The triangular cake (upper left corner, top shelf) and layer cake (4th from the right, 1st row) especially tickle me.
Lucycato's cakes are even more gorgeous though. Seriously, just enlarge the pic and look. Even the two tier cake with the random dollops of colored icing is so artful!
These little beauties were in a cafe at Incheon Airport. I love the coffee cream cake in the chocolate coffee cup. SO CUTE. I don't know how anyone could eat that much cream but whatevs~
And what better way to end a Korea Trip series than with a pic of a cute Korean baby? This was the last picture I snapped while I was waiting in line to check-in. I'm not one for babies usually, but this baby was just so friggin cute. The chubby little legs, chipmunk cheeks, and copious amounts of hair melted my heart just a bit.... I thought his head was gonna pop off the way it kept lolling back and forth though ^^;;
And that's the end folks! I hope you have enjoyed taking this (long) journey through Korea with me :) I hope it is useful to those planning or hoping to visit South Korea. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I will answer them the best I can.
Till next time & Happy Travels!