Seoul – Day 3: Gyeongbokgung Palace/Gwanghwamun Square

Day 3 began with a cold walk to the subway and a short ride to Gwanghwamun Square!  This is basically just an open plaza in the city but it has the statues of King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-sin right in the middle and it is also right outside of Gyeongbokgung Palace.  So really, you will naturally walk through the plaza when wanting to visit the palace (and you really should visit the palace while touring Seoul).

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Metro excitement.
Here's something I found interesting...This is a case of gas masks. There are several of them in each metro station...like vending machines. curious.
Here’s something I found interesting…This is a case of gas masks. There are several of them in each metro station…like vending machines. curious.
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Adam is always in charge of transportation and mapping whenever we travel. It’s great because he’s good at it and enjoys it! It’s nice to divvy up tasks beforehand so there are no unspoken expectations hanging around. In our family, that leads to STRESS!!
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Here is King Sejong the Great and you can see the Gwanghwamun Gate (the entrance to the Gyeongbokgung Palace) in the background.
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hmmm, weirdo.
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E and the King.
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Gwanghwamun Square.  Note: There are several coffee shops and eateries here!  The is a Starbucks on your left as you exit the metro station!! Which I find to be an important piece of info when traveling in cold weather!

 

And then we went into the Palace to peek around.  OK, here is my advice about the Palace: PAY to get in to see the whole thing!  I really had NO idea how much I was missing until I came back from it.  We missed the prince and princess’ compound, the council hall, the king’s living quarters, the gardens, the pavilions…basically we missed all the cool stuff. grr. Look at this site before you go visit!!

We got there JUST in time to see the changing of the guards!
We got there JUST in time to see the changing of the guards!
Took an obligatory picture with a guard...which I thought would be like the ones in London. Stoic. But as it turns out...
Took an obligatory picture with a guard…which I thought would be like the ones in London. Stoic. But as it turns out…
This guy was making clicking noises at my son the whole time we were taking pictures. Sneaky guard!
This guy was making clicking noises at my son the whole time we were taking pictures. Sneaky guard!
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You can see that Seoul has grown up and around the palace
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These two little bundled buddies! They ran and hugged all over the Palace grounds!

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So mostly we missed the rest of the palace because we were cold and G had already soaked through 2 layers of clothing and we were down to one outfit!  Ack!  Who is giving that child water?? So, we found a bathroom with a changing station (a rare thing), got him into dry clothing and headed back to the square to find lunch!

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Hungry in Seoul on a really cold day? Then go get yourself some Korea Ginseng Chicken Soup (Called Samgyetang…it’s a very popular Korean soup)! We found this one in Gwanghwamun Square right next to the Starbucks.  There is also another one in Bukchon!
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Yep, that’s an ENTIRE little chicken simmering in my bowl! It came out boiling and was stuffed with rice, ginseng and onions. Hot and delicious! We also had kimchi and some ginseng sake as well! So we were pretty warmed up by the time we left!!
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Little G doesn’t eat restaurant food when we travel. This is mostly because I can’t ever know for sure what’s IN it. Because he’s allergic to soy, dairy, and eggs (which are pretty common ingredients) and I don’t want to be traveling around with a vomiting child…I usually bring food with me. This makes for heavier luggage, but a smoother trip! I find grocery stores as well and stock up on fruit for snacks! And look, he’s happy with his apple!!
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We were so proud of this little man on this trip. He was a trooper and he did SO much better in Seoul than he did just 6 months ago in Taipei! He’s learning how to travel!
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A silly moment…these happen a lot in our family!

And then we headed back to the hotel for nap time (a MUST with a toddler) and took some pictures around the hotel grounds!

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Look at this onesie!!! It was his sister’s when we lived in Oregon!
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I would like to learn how to look at a tree, and know exactly WHERE to cut so that it looks like this…beautiful!

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And finally, we headed back out to Itaewon for dinner with some of Adam’s coworkers from his previous job with ASACS.  We went to a South African Pub called Braai Republic.  The food was great and the atmosphere was laid back but the highlight for me was the Host (or owner, if you will).  I didn’t catch his name, but he was amazing!  I was the only mom in there with kids in tow and he made me feel comfortable,  talking to me about his own kids, leaping up to get us new forks when we dropped ours and chatting with my two little dumplings.  He even taught me how to properly eat my prawns!

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Adam had the lamb.
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And he was happy about it.
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Our table of friends. So crazy that some of them lived here and some were randomly visiting and they ALL made it out!
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mmmm, prawns and salad!
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Heading back to the hotel through Itaewon.

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And then the kids and I got ready for bed!  Adam went back out to hang with his friends.

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I slathered both kids in coconut oil (chapped lips and cheeks from the dry cold) after a warm bath and we watched a few minutes of Korean cartoons. A few minutes is all we can take because it seems like everyone is always either super mad and screaming or super happy and screaming!
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This blankie was in need of some serious cleaning when we got back!!
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Beautiful!

Next Up: Day 4 – Bukchon Village (my favorite day in Seoul)!

Happy travels!

E

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