Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wednesdays Wanderings

Up early, Another nauseating ride through the city of Seoul, and the beautiful sites! Amazing!

I didn't have to get up as early for this tour. I left the hotel at 8 am. And believe it or not, sick again. Very quickly. The Korean people drive so differently than what I'm used to. They don't keep a steady foot on the gas. It's push hard and let go, push hard an let go. Add in a lot of speed up fast, slam on breaks and squeeze into a lane of traffic that should not be legal. Mind over matter my friends. Should have just taken the Dramamine!

Our first stop was the Buddhist Temple. October 29th was actually the first day of October according to the Buddhist calendar. There were so many people there to pray! The people take money and gifts and water and food to put on the alters for the monks. I'm glad I asked. I almost took a water!

The buildings were just beautiful! They also had a place to burn candles and incense to allow their prayers to travel further. It was interesting to see people pushing each other out of the way to get their candle and incense burning before the monk started praying and chanting.

People would also put requests and prayers on lanterns. The people who paid a lot of money got their lanterns inside the temple. The rest were just outside.

I think this is Buddah. There were two or three of them in the main temple and that was it.

After the buddist temple we went to the Geyoungbokgong Palace. It was an absolutely amazing place. It was built in the 1500's. During the war with Japan it was nearly destroyed by fire. Then, during the Josan dynasty, the king remodeled the 7000+ rooms. It was so pretty.

I had looked on the internet at this palace prior to traveling to Korea. I thought it was just beautiful. There was a picture of a cute little "hut" on water. It was very enchanting and wonderful. We had gone through with our tour guide. She took us to the places in the previous pictures and was dropping us off at the Folk Museum just outside of the palace. I was uber upset! I had wasted all this time. Add the nausea and I was not leaving until I got to see what I wanted to. I traveled many miles! So, I told our tour guide that I would meet the group back at that spot at the specific time she instructed us. I went back into the palace and walked to the nice quite area. Here are some of the pictures I took. There were only 4 or 5 people there. It was absolutely peaceful and quiet. In a city of 20 million and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, it was exactly what I needed. I'm also getting better at taking pictures of myself :)

Then it was off to the hotel. I met back up with James and we went on our own tour of Lotte World. James had a nice long meeting with the guys there. It was good to finally have that over with. We were released and free to go on our temple adventure!

We did an awesome job getting to the correct subway station that would lead us to the temple. The instructions on said to get off at the Sinchon subway station and walk west ten minutes. So, it was dark. May I remind you that all the buildings seemed to be over 30 stories high. Add the fact that no one at this stop can speak English. We got off the subway about 1 1/2 hours before the session at the temple started. We walked, and walked, and walked. I felt like a pioneer, in high heels! James did all he could to find the temple for me. He's my hero. After more walking and walking, we finally found it. It was off an alley way the first direction we went. We just didn't go far enough. BY HALF A BLOCK!!! Anyway, we found it. We walked in to find that we were 20 minutes last for the last session. The building was small, but beautiful. And the temple president was so kind to us. He gave us a tour of as much of the temple as possible. It was really dark, but we got a few pictures to capture our memories.

Stay posted for pictures from Lotte World, the trip home and Halloween Happenings!