November 24, 2014

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea is a very modern city with lots of different neighborhoods to explore, similar to Tokyo. We didn't get to everything, but definitely spent three action packed days exploring! We flew on a military hop to Osan Air Base (which was only a 90 minute flight from Yokota AB), then took a bus to our hotel in Seoul.

The girls felt very grown up sharing their own row on the flight over.

The first day we visited the War Memorial of Korea. It was a very hands on and engaging museum of Korea's military history. The grounds were beautiful too! 

We happened upon a military demonstration in the front courtyard when we arrived.

They were doing different drill exercises with the guns. Very fun to watch (took me back to my drill team days in high school). 

A photo op inside the museum.

Outside there were several corridors commemorating lives lost in defense of their country. Names were printed  along the columns.

Outside there was a great display of various military vehicles, as well. 

You could climb on many of them.

This boat still had bullet holes all over the place! 

There was also a great view of the N. Seoul Tower from here, a famous landmark of the city. 

Such lovely fall weather!

We spent most of the morning at the museum, then headed to the Namdaemun Market for lunch and to wander. In the subway, there were several of these cases of supplies in case there is an attack or natural disaster of some sort. A good idea, but a little creepy too! 

The Namdaemun Market is the largest of its kind in Korea and sold everything from socks, to jewelry to handbags. There were blocks and blocks of shops, it was really fun area.

There were also a lot of street food vendors. Anyone for some silk worm larvae? (No, I just wouldn't try that one.)


Our search for a bathroom led us upstairs through an odd building, and into a HUGE warehouse full of costume jewelry. It looked to be some sort of wholesale place and people were assembling items together. So interesting!

Rows upon rows of rings, necklaces, bracelets, charms, you name it!

At the end of the market we came across the Sungnyemun Gate, which was originally built in 1396 and was one of the original gates into the walled city of Seoul. (I have to admit, I was a little taken aback with the dirt entrance, since everything is always manicured to perfection in Japan. I guess I have been spoiled!)

The ceiling of the gate was painted beautifully. This gate was actually burned to the ground in 2008, but recently restored. 

We finished off the evening at a funny show called Bibap, a cooking/singing/dancing/comedy show? The girls loved it and especially loved that Matt got called up on stage to help during one of the acts. He seems to have a knack for being an audience "volunteer". Poor Matt!

That's the end of day one, more to come!

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