Our last full day in Seoul was a beautiful sunny day! We were headed for Changdeokgung Palace...or at least that was the plan. We arrived (and bought tickets) for what we thought was the Palace, but it turned out we were actually at Jongmyo Shrine. Since it wasn't in our original plan it was a nice sightseeing bonus.
The Jongmyo Shrine is where royal ancestors are enshrined and memorial services are preformed for deceased kings and queens. When a king or a queen died mourning at continue at the palace for three years. After the three year mourning period the memorial tablet of the deceased would be moved to Jongmyo and enshrined. The Jongmyo Shrine has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1995 because it is the only Confucian state in all of Asia that has preserved its royal shrine and continues to preform royal ancestral rites.
|This is one of the buildings where the tablets are enshrined.|
We did make it to Changdeokgung Palace, it was just a little further down the road. This palace was built in 1405, a secondary palace to Gyeongbokgung. The entire palace was destroyed in a fire in the Japanese invasion of 1592. It was restored in 1610 and served as the main palace for 270 years. There is a secret garden that is only accessed with a guided tour of the facilities. We decided to just wonder on our own and skip the garden (I had read mixed reviews so I didn't feel that we were missing much).
As we were exiting form the metro for our next stop, I tripped and fell on the escalator (it was not running at the time). It made a loud noise, I had Baby O in the carrier, there was a large crowd also exiting and it was embarrassing! A nice man ran over to make sure I was ok and help me up. I had bruised/cut knees like a little kid. Thankfully it was just my knees that were hurt and not Baby O. Our next stop was to Cheonggyecheon Stream (I forgot to take pictures here). It was not as exciting as I thought it was going to be, but I did read that going at night is better because there are many colorful lights. After walking along the stream for a little bit we stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a snack.
Before heading back to the hotel I had one other thing to do, I was in search of some shoes that I had seen at a store in the metro station. We retraced our path from the previous day (when I had seen the shoes) but couldn't find the shop. We had just given up when J was looking for a restroom and their they were! And they had my size! Hooray!
Dinner on our last night in Seoul was delicious! I believe that it is called dak galbi, it was a spicy tomato based sauce with chicken, cabbage, potato, onions, carrots and tteok (a rice cake that looked like giant noodle). All of this was cooked on a round cast iron skillet in the middle of our table. (Thankfully no one asked to hold Baby O, he actually fell asleep while our food was cooking.)
The next day was a long one but uneventful day. We spent pretty much all day at airports (in VERY long lines at Incheon). It was a great trip but we were ready to be home.