Monday, October 25, 2010

Palace Tour and Secret Garden In Seoul

On Sunday I had the most excellent opportunity to take a tour of Changdeokgung Palace and it's recently opened to the public, "secret garden". I went with a friend's Korean coteachers who were more than happy to have me tag along, I have a feeling their new cyworld profile pictures will involve me... they love to pose! And always making the peace sign, which by the way, also means "me too" or so says my main coteacher. Some students were doing it in class after I asked a question and I was quite confused. Anyways.

Palace front gate. (These were taken on my cellphone, I've yet to get a real camera...)

We ran to the tour start destination after we entered because we were running a little late. The tour was only for the back garden, which was more like a 78 acre forest with ponds, traditional houses, temples, and trees- no well manicured floral displays or anything like that. However, it was in the middle of Seoul and once you entered the garden, all you could hear were the birds, the scraping of leaves, and the tour guide's amplifier. I didn't take a lot of pictures because one of the teachers was nominated official photographer, hopefully I'll be getting emailed some photos!

This was part of the servant quarters- it was gender separated by this wall. Many of the buildings I had seen up to this point had been painted bright colors, reds, oranges, and greens. It turns out that only temples and palaces were painted bright colors in Korea, so a pleb's house or quarters would look like above picture and not like this.

This building was called "Lotus Shrine" or something of that nature because it's very pointy roof was designed in the shape of a lotus flower.

An ancient library! The first floor was reserved for the books and the second floor was the reading and study area. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to go into any of these buildings- I would have LOVED to go into this one! I'm sure it's just an empty nest though.

The garden tour took a total of two hours and cost about 5000 won, totally worth it. I love being in a country that has more than 300 years of history, fascinating!

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