Video of Travel Journal

I mentioned yesterday I had filled my first travel journal and was on to the second. I thought I would share a flip through the pages so you could see how I keep a travel journal. I hope you enjoy the journal flip.

Enjoy!


Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

Beijing may have the Forbidden City, but Seoul has a ready answer in the Gyeongbokgung Palace – literally Greatly blessed by Heaven (Gyeongbok) Palace (gung), it is the largest of the five great royal palaces, and was originally constructed in 1395 – three years after the founding of the Joseon dynasty. But the facts and figures do not convey the scale and grandeur of the palace, with its more than 330 buildings, tranquil lake, and sprawling grounds with the mountains in the background. But perhaps a few photos might help.

The first thing that strikes you is the contrast between the bustling glass-walled towers and huge TV screens of the city and the tranquility of the palace once you step through the gate

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

The next thing is how clean the place is – despite the crowds of tourists there was not a speck of litter on the ground. And although there were quite a few people, the scale of the place soon dwarfs them.

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

So we made our way towards the throne room – brilliantly painted and decorated, but way too dark for most point-and-shoot cameras. And with flash prohibited many despaired of capturing the sight. My secret? I used the fold-out screen and gently rested the camera against the window and set up for a long exposure – something like 3 seconds did the trick

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

Soon we encountered a pavillion set in a tranquil lake, with carp taking care of the water quality and keeping the algae and mosquitoes down. Mind you, in Autumn that is simply not an issue.

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

Another long exposure gave the water a mirror finish despite the minor ripples from a gentle breeze.

The Palace – being made from wood – suffered from fires, and was twice largely destroyed by the Japanese in 1592 and again in 1915. The current restoration and reconstruction has been ongoing since 1990. Early fire fighting methods included the positioning at regular intervals of huge bronze vessels containing water which could be bucketed by hand to put out any small fires before they spread too far.

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace – bronze water vessel

Are your feet aching yet? Well there is a small tea and souvenirs shop with western-style toilets for your comfort. I strongly recommend the green tea – so refreshing!

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

Parts of the palace are quite labyrinthine and soon we found ourselves in hidden courtyards and strange passages – you could easily imagine a complex life here

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

And so we turned back towards the entrance through long cloisters

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace

and back towards the modern world

Seoul - Gyeongbokgung Palace

Seoul – Gyeongbokgung Palace


Seoul – art and craft supplies

Insadong – the district in which we stayed turned out to be a real gem. Not least because it is the artisan district and is absolutely packed with small traditional shops with amazing hand-made art supplies.

Seoul brush shop

The calligraphy brush shops catered for every size brush up to ones the size of broomsticks! All beautifully crafted and using fine hair for the brush. Needless to say Sharon was over the moon.

Seoul - paperThen we found the paper shop – not newspapers and magazines, but paper – nothing but paper… All of it hand made and with flowers and leaves pressed in, and every shade and thickness you could want, from the lightest rice paper to the heaviest card and with the whole range of the colour wheel.

Seoul - craft supplies shop

There were also paper-crafted objects, like fans and bookmarks and cards, but for us the fascination was with the textures and colours and varieties of the paper itself.

Finding gems like this is what makes travel worthwhile 🙂


A visit to the DMZ

Whilst in Seoul we decided to pay a visit to the Demilitarised Zone or DMZ.
We are not tour type folks but the only way you can visit the DMZ is via a bus tour because lets face it, the place is technically still a war zone. Having to take a tour meant we had to travel at the rate established by the group.

travel journal sketchSo I could only draw something simple which I have shared with this page spread. The photo was taken before I wrote in my journal about the day. One of the souvenirs tourists could purchase was a section of barb wire that had been used! Each piece had a serial number and was authenticated.

DMZ prayer ribbons KoreaAt Paju there is a bullet ridden steam train which is going nowhere as the bridge it crosses has been blown up. Beside the train people tie ribbons to represent wishes/prayers for peace and unification.

DMZ Merry-go-roundThere is fun park area that contains the quirkiest merry-go-round I have seen as is is composed of cute stylised rickshaws.

DMZ Merry-go-roundIt was very surreal to walk from a barbwire defined guarded border to  play ground!

The actual tour is interesting as in may ways as the war and living as divided country has shaped the national psyche.

More photos taken in Korea coming soon from Jerry.