I am typically not very adventurous in my food choices, but this country knows how to eat! I loved that my parents knew of all these great places off the beaten path. We went to their favorite place the night we flew in. The owner took Bennett off our hands so we could eat then walked him around the rest of the restaurant showing him off to the college kids who were eating there as well.
Early in the trip, we headed out to a folk village. Think a grand Korean version of Nauvoo.
Allison and I came across a chinese jump rope and I could not believe how quick it came back: inside, outside, on, off, twisties, twirlies. Only I can't jump like I used to. Also, I do not look as suave jumping as one would think...or...how...I would think. Ha!
Classic Uncle NoNo.
Holy Moly, I should have written down some details on the flight home. I'll have to ask my mom about the name of the city we went to that night, I have no clue. Looking back over the itinerary my mom sent, I think it was Suwon. Do not quote me on that. To be honest, I was totally along for the ride and didn't pay too much attention to where we were going, how we were getting there, etc. But not a bad ride to hitch along. We walked along this awesome wall that surrounded the city. Not the Great Wall, but still great :) I really loved this night. I walked away from my family to take some pictures and ended up sitting there along the steps to this river for a while after I took the picture below/right. Just outside the picture was a river flowing through those arches. I got lost in my thoughts, looked up at my family across the way, and had one of those moments. You know, like a moment of transcendence. When you feel so, so small in this world. But your own little life still somehow seems significant. The sound of rushing water tends to do this to me :) I sat and watched middle-school aged kids who were just getting out of school and walking along this part of the wall to get home. Traveling is so interesting, to watch people going about their lives, making their own stories, so far away from the life and story I'm making. I really, really loved this spot and the feeling of complete contentment I felt in that moment.
We packed up and headed into Seoul for the rest of our trip. Aaaaand...again...with the blond haired, blue-eyed babe.
While I was
annoyingly pretty passive about planning most of this trip, I definitely pushed the planning to include a visit to the DMZ (the Demilitarized Zone, or truce area, between North and South Korea). North Korea fascinates me. We were there just three months before Kim Jong-il died. I think it will be so interesting over the next few decades to slowly find out this country's history--it is all so secretive.
The DMZ is a sobering place, made more so by the gloomy day we spent there. There were strict instructions on what we could wear, when we could have cameras, where we could go, etc. This is the heavily barbed and guarded fence overlooking the bridge where many prisoner exchanges have been made.
We visited the train station and tracks that South Korea built in hopes of a reconciliation. That reconciliation has been a no go! (Justin and I weren't sure if we should smile...or frown...so it ended up in this in between smirk, ha ha!) We also went down into one of the many tunnels the North Koreans have dug to try and attack Seoul. You walk to the end and there is a heavy, locked metal door with a small window you can peek through to the North Korean side. They should totally have something rigged to jump out at you from the other side at that point :) Although, this may not be the best place for pranks, people seem a little on edge.
We spent the next day around beautiful Seoul, Korea. We visited the Korean War Museum--perfect timing since our interests were piqued after visiting the DMZ the day before. Then it was off to the National Palace where we spent most of the day.
Photo Bomb! This picture makes me laugh so hard. And I'll give you two guesses who the man in the sweater below wanted his picture taken with--it wasn't Justin :) But I think by this point Justin wasn't willing to just hand off our baby to strangers anymore, ha!
My dad took us to the home he lived in as a missionary in the 70's that now serves as the Seoul Korea Mission office building. We walked around the surrounding neighborhood that is now a trendy shopping area and found some good eats along the way.
My favorite tourist picture:
One of our last stops was to the Seoul Tower. My parents had their cells on the ready to deal with mission business and we were laughing at my dad using his camera to block the noise around him:
There is a huge fence at the top with thousands and thousands of 'locks of love' fastened to it. I thought the idea was to lock your love and throw away the key, but apparently they advise to keep it handy just in case :)
Seoul is an unbelievably sprawling mass of a city. No matter what direction I looked from this tower, the city stretched as far as I could see.
Great company, great weather, great food, great country...couldn't have asked for a better trip. And Bennett could not have been more pleasant; he was the perfect age to eat, sleep, and go.go.go.