Friday, July 26, 2013

Namsan Tower

Last November we intended to go to Namsan Tower for our anniversary. It is supposedly a couple's destination in Seoul. It never ended up happening and it seemed to be the trip we would never get around to. But we did!
Namsan Tower, June 2013

Here is something I made for class when I did a lesson on the Burj Kalifia. It does put this tower to shame! But it's the heighest point in Seoul and gave us a nice day trip for sure! So be proud little tower!!

Our way up the tram. Some traditional houses in an older part of Seoul.

The tower elevators have a light show should guests feel bored during the wait (it was like 30 seconds for us).

Some views from the tower

Proof we were here.

A 'romantic' tradition at the tower is to 'lock your love' to the fence at the top. (Is it romantic or vandalism? I'm not sure!) Take a pad lock, take a sharpie, GO! Then attach it to the fence. Many people write messages or draw pictures. We did one, too. It was thoroughly mushy with many inside jokes.

It's not pictured so as to save us all from that awkwardness!

Many, many, MANY locks.

It looks really pretty...

We ended our day by hiking down the hill, stopping along the way for a picnic of nice cheese and bread (and a fancy imported beer).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Around Insadong

Found  in Insadong, Seoul, on a wall that surrounded some construction.
The red writing was a part of some failed advertisement.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Memory Lane: The Cherry Blossom Edition

Back in April Korea began to bloom. It seems like once the trees begin to get leaves, flowers begin to bloom and do not stop blooming until the trees lose their leaves again.

Just like last year, we took advantage of the opportunity to seek out the cherry blossoms.

And find them we did. We took the subway to Yeouido Park and walked around the neighbourhood. 

It was cloudy, but the grey made for an interesting back drop.

We saw some non-cherry blossom sights as well. Including these beautiful trees.

We came upon this beautiful pond.

Meanwhile I was taking tons of pictures and Sandy was eating corn dogs from the food vendors.

Sandy was especially pleased that the only 4 sidewalk garbage cans that exist in Korea stood between us
and the perfect picture of cherry blossoms running two ways down a forked road.

"Sandy, Sandy! Pull down the branch so that the blossoms are in the picture with us!
It's a good idea! You love it! You told me."


Around Uiwang: Our Personal Fountain

Clearly this fountain is here for our personal viewing pleasure. Or so it seemed one afternoon as we sat having a beverage at the picnic tables outside the convenience store.

This under-a-giant-overpass community really isn’t half bad! It was funny to see the kids playing in it, trying to redirect the water this way and that. One boy trying not to get his cast wet in the process.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen it on since this day…

… but the plan to run through it during the heat of summer has been made.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lotus Lantern Festival

We were happy to return to the Lotus Lantern Festival this year on May 11th and 12th. (Check out what we did last year here.) We were happy to also have some guests! The Moms!

Anne, Sandy's mom, at the Cheonggyecheon Stream (청계천) decorated for Buddha's birthday.
We ALL had our cameras up for all the beautiful picture opportunities.
Sandy gives my mom the inside scoop to whatever excitement lies behind me.
As tour guides, we got to make up stuff and get away with it.

We were so excited to have them here during such a beautiful time in Seoul. All the lanterns were out and beautiful.

I love these multi-layered lanterns which we only saw around the stream.

You can see the much more commonly seen lanterns in the foreground.
You find these running along most streets all over Korea leading up to Buddha's birthday.

The Festival!

A traditional drum set out to try.
This man definitely had training with the drum.

Traditional culture is very alive evident in this boy who had obviously had lessons.

Kids got to do so many cool crafts! (I was pretty jealous.)
The components used to make traditional Korean paper.
Some of the lanterns and floats used in the parade the night before were set out for visitors to see.

In the yard of a temple the lanterns hid from view the canopy of this tree.

We had a great time at the festival for our second year. I think this is one of my favourite times of the year because of how beautiful the lanterns are and how you will see them EVERYWHERE. I'm glad we could share it with our moms, too!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Life as a troll

-- living under a bridge

Well.. an overpass.

When we moved out of our apartment in Osan we knew we were moving to an apartment next to a highway. We didnt realise it would be next to an overpass. We definitly did not know that our apartment would be situated below the level of the overpass.

We live under a bridge.

Bridges beneath bridges
Our apartment is tiny (one room with a bathroom), dark (there is no natural light and no matter how you twist your neck, you cannot see anything but the building across from our window), and it's old and dirty.

The bathrrom is across from the "kitchen".
The chaos of moving to an apartment
 smaller than your suitcase

 Doesn't it scream: WELCOME TO UIWANG!?

That first day was horribly saddening. We came from an apartment that had the problem of too much sunlight to one where it looked perpetually like dusk.

But you know what? It grew on us. This area has real personality. Yes, our apartment is small, dark and dirty (like, years of dirt layered on because no one ever bothered to care for a place they would only live in for a year) but you can tell this area of town has been invested in.
There is art on some of the main pillars

There are interesting restaurants and coffee shops

And there is a park right off the pass with flowers and trees
and even a hiking path up the small mountain

Maybe it's not beautiful in the traditional sense, but it has real character that we enjoy.

 For now, we are happy to be here...

...because "The Cave" is no where near as bad as the apartment that was supplied by my school...the one we call "The Swamp".