After walking for about 5 minutes we started to hear the sounds of distant drum beats, and by the time we reached the Dongdaemun area we knew they must be directly above us. We climbed out of the Cheonggyechong to investigate. We found traditional Korean music performers, performing to collect money for some cause or another. We stood and listened for a few minutes before continuing on our way.
They say that, since the Cheonggyechong was restored in 2005, it's had an amazing impact on the environment of the area. Many birds, insects and fish not previously seen in the area started appearing along the stream area.
The waterway and plant life surrounding it actually has a measurable effect on the temperature of the city, lowering the temperature an average of 3.6˚C on summer days. See the Wikipedia article for more info. I feel lucky to live near such a nice place to visit.
Cheonggyechong ends between Gwanghwamun plaza and City Hall Plaza, and so it puts you right downtown. At the end of the stream there is a waterfall where the boyfriend had some fun playing with the settings on my camera. Something I need to spend more time doing. Anyway, this is what we got...
We continued on our way to get to the Seoul History museum near Seodaemun. Along the way I saw this cute little police car. Seconds after I took this picture, it sprang into action, catching some traffic violator in action.
Finally we arrived at the Seoul History Museum. It's a nice, cheap museum to visit on a boring Sunday afternoon. You can't beat a 700 won entry price. It's not the most exciting museum in the world, but definitely worth 700 won.
We spent about an hour or so in the museum, and then we headed around the back to find Gyonghuigung, one of the 5 palaces in Seoul... the one that I always wondered to myself where it was because I'd never heard of anyone going there. Frankly, there wasn't much to see, nothing compared to any other palace I've been to, but if you're at the museum, you might as well check it out. Now there is only one palace I've yet to visit. Changdokgung.
Again, like I said, not much different than any other palace. If you're sick of palaces, then don't bother. If you like palaces, than it might be worth it for you.
This is a replica of the old style trolleys that used to roll around Seoul before there were subways and buses. I'm guessing the woman is trying to sell something to the riders on the train. Much like how vendors sell products on the trains today!
Here is a big moving statue in between Seodaemun station and Gwanghwamun station. I've never quite figured out what it's for, but it does look cool.
We decided to head to Myongdong to find the boyfriend some new sneakers, so we cut around the back side of Doksugung to go that way. Back there we found these squashed people statues that I've never seen before. They were quite amusing, whatever they were....
We finally found our way to Myongdong and saw the infamous, newly opened H&M, where nearly every foreign girl I know has waited in line to get in and shop. I, on the other hand really had no desire to spend money on more clothes that I have no clothes hangers for and continued along the way to find some sneakers.
After at least an hour or two of shopping around for sneakers, the boyfriend finally found a pair that suited him and we headed home, exhausted from our long hike around the city. Before leaving though, we found these noodle guys entertaining some Japanese tourists with their elementary Japanese while chanting and making noodles. Someday I do need to try these noodles...
It's hard to get out of Myongdong without seeing some strange and interesting sights. we almost made it to the subway station before coming across this Christian trying to threaten me with hell if I have no Jesus. And after reading that, I almost felt scared enough to follow Jesus, but then I remembered that I don't like to be intimidated into believing any doctrines and went along my heathen ways.
This time we were in sight of the subway station when we saw 계란빵, kyeranbang, or a cake with a cooked egg in the middle. It doesn't sound very good, but it is.
Finally we didn't get home until nearly 10:00, amazing since we left the house around 2:30. I'm hoping I got enough exercise to burn off all the goodies I ate at my friend's dinner party on Saturday night.