South Korea: Just in Time for the Cherry Blossoms

Old Fortress Wall and temple south korea

On May 9, we flew from China to Seoul, South Korea.  We spent the next week in Seoul, visiting various sites such as the Jongmyo Shrine,  the old city walls, the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul Tower, and a couple different history museums. 

Another day, we had lunch and walked around the area called Itaewon, full of servicemen and restaurants from all over the world.  After lunch, we spent the rest of the day at the Korean War Museum, comparing their version of the war with the version we saw in North Korea.

I caught a cold and stayed home the next day, while Chris visited the DMZ.

At the end of the week, we spent a day out in Incheon, visiting the lovely Central Park there, and having dinner with our friend Maluschka, who we had not seen in nine years.

After Seoul, we headed to the east coast, for the express purpose of visiting the Haesindang Penis Park.  The park is full of statues, benches, sculptures, and artwork, all in the shape of penises.  The story goes that a young maiden drowned off the coast of this fishing village, and after that no fish could be caught.  One day a fisherman exposed his penis to to the sea, and the fish rose to the surface. And so the villagers concluded that the ghost of the maiden was unhappy and could only be appeased by penises.  And so here you go.

From the east coast, we took a bus to the south and the city of Busan.  We did a little sightseeing there,  picked up our Japan rail passes and ferry tickets, and tried some Korean street food, such as mandu (dumplings) and pajeon (chive pancakes). Did I mention that in South Korea, they have small satellite public libraries inside their metro stations? You can reserve a book, check it out, return it, or do some work without ever having to tap out of the metro system. 

On our last day, we visited the Lotte Department store- 13 floors, including an aquatic show, a four-level cinema, a gym, petting zoo, and a sky terrace offering amazing views of the city.  Kind of a weird way to spend an afternoon, but fun.

And now….. We are headed by hydrofoil jet to Japan, our last stop on this trip.

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