Tuesday, December 17, 2013

17 Dec 2013 -4 C Changdeokgung

Smaller Changdeokgung provides the insight to ancient Korean royal grandeur

Markers like these line the palace

Bridge at the entrance to the palace for good fengshui
We set off for Changdeokgung to make it in time for the 10am Chinese guided tour. This palace is listed under the UN Heritage sites and there is a cap to the number of visitors per day.

Changdeokgung  consists of the palace proper and the huge Huwon Secret Garden and entry is paid separately ( 3000 won / 5000 won respectively ). Visitors to the garden has to make prior reservations but since we had our fair share of walking the past days in the frigid cold, we gave the 90 minutes tour a miss and opted for a 50 minute tour of the palace instead.

Changdeokgung is smallish but very stately. The guide did a great job of explaining the history of most major sections of the palace but I find the tour a little too rushed.

Lunch was settled in a little cosy restaurant in one of the many alleys in Insadong. Scores of office workers were already there for the cheap and authentic cuisine.  We gave the popular restaurants a pass because all required us to sit on the floor. Our bulgolgi set with scallion pancakes was so tasty I totally ignored the extra spicy chilli dousing the meats.

Ice everywhere

Ice igloo for kids and not so old kids
Back at Hongdae, we visited the Trick Eye museum ( 15000 won x2 ).  Perhaps because it was 3 pm, the crowd was thin and we managed to take lots of photos. It was also here that both hubs and I were the most animated because we had to be part of the paintings. The museum comes with a joint entry to the Ice museum in the same premises. It was a very small place but I managed to squeeze out lots of fun sliding down the ice slide. Needless to say, it was a jolly good time.

The most reserved of all tourists turns animated here.

Hubs levitating for real!

We walked the whole of Hongdae area to experience the vibe of the youth and little shops with unique wares. At café Schneeballen, we rested our foot over iced coffee and tea. Like most cafés , the décor was unique and it was a pleasure to sit among eclectic furnishing and sipping tea and surfing the net.

Last night at Studio41st 

After a short rest at the Studio. We headed out for dinner at Guwooso. The spread was the most sparten compared to previous meals but the American beef steak was amazingly tender. Together with a soup noodle, the bill came up to just 15000 won x2 + 5000 won. The meal earned our the double thumbs up!

It was the last night in Korea and we were a bit reluctant to call it an end to our holiday. We carted back to the studio pancakes ( 2000 won ),  super sweet persimmons ( 3900 won ) and a cooked sweet potato ( 1500 won ) which also worked as my hand warmer. It was the best, last buy of the day because I got to warm my hands and eat my heat pack too !

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