|Moroni is just above the two elders on the left. One elder is from St. George, Utah, the other two from Korea. They shared a fish-shaped pastry filled with chocolate--yum!|
|View of Seoul|
|So pretty at night--what a beautiful sight and feeling overwhelmed us.|
|Kindof like a beef stew with rice and other assorted additions.|
|The vents above the tables are for when you order BBQ.|
I had just looked on the internet for different attractions to see in Seoul, so we didn't have anyone guiding us. Fortunately, we were close to the subway and many friendly people speak English, so we didn't have any trouble. We first went to visit the Changdeokgung Palace. It was built in 1405, but destroyed during the Japanese invasion in 1592 and restored in 1610. It served as the main palace for about 270 years when the primary palace was also destroyed.
|Called "the palace" but actually a community of buildings.|
This palace is recognized for its more aesthetically pleasing design, following the contours of the hills on which it is built, rather than the straight block north/south axis buildings of the main palace here (and of The Forbidden City palace). There is a lot of Chinese influence here, obviously, but also some new angles. It was very pretty. Here they had kings instead of emperors.
We were able to take an English tour of the "Secret Garden", a beautiful section behind the main palace with lots of water (ice!), trees and lovely pavilions.
|A frozen lake where the King liked to fish--he only did catch and release!|
|The pavilion from which he would fish.|
|This building was a library built in 1776--education was very important and there were thousands of books here. Only the king could use the center gate--everyone else went through the two on the right or left.|
|If you pass through this gate, you will never get old! That's what it says, really!!|
You can see there was lots of snow--not usually what you want to see when visiting the Secret Garden--but wintertime has its own beauty. We were just so happy that it wasn't snowing today!
|Beautiful brick design on the wall.|
Remember in China, the dragon with the pearl in its mouth? Here it is again in the same position in Korea.
|Ancient tree on the grounds.|
|This pavilion has a thatched roof!|
|Waffles and Ice Cream!!!!!!!!|
Church on Sunday was in the chapel/distribution center/church bookstore/missionary couples housing building next door to the temple.
The Ward welcomed us heartily and found translators for us. We saw a man we recognized--Joel from Tucson! He played Joseph Smith when I played Lucy Mack Smith in a Stake Play several years ago. We were amazed that in this city of 20 million people, we would run into someone we knew. It was a tender mercy for both of us. He and his wife, Alisa, invited us to dinner at their home, even though she just had a new baby a month ago! But with their five children, we got to play grandparents--a job we have sorely missed. And their children were aching for the love of grandparents, so we were able to fill their void. They made us chili and cornbread for dinner--absolutely heavenly!! We had such a wonderful time together and it was like spending a Sunday evening with family. I am so humbled by the way the Lord works in our lives. We thought they were blessing us, and they thought we were blessing them. Isn't it great? I kept remembering how Pres. Latimer said we would be blessed for our sacrifice to go to the temple.
After Church, we went to visit Namsan Park and Namsan Tower. This is on a large hill in the geographical center of Seoul, and the tower has views all around. It was a hike to get to the tower, but we were in shape after hiking the Great Wall of China!
|Halfway up the hill.|
|The marker on the center of Seoul. It's on top of the hill.|
For a price, you could take an elevator up into the tower. You could also pay extra to have your photo taken, or eat at one of the restaurants available. And, of course, there were some gift shops. But we just enjoyed the views!
|The windows let you know what direction you were facing, and how far away the cities were!|
|This is a long way from your first mission, Kirk!|
|The Han (or Hangang) River at the top of the view.|
There was a delicious Paris Baguette pastry shop where we had breakfast on Monday. They made a "sandwich" from two pieces of French toast with a mapley filling in between. Yum!
We then went to visit the main palace called Gyeongbokgung. It was founded in 1395 and was the center of power, politics, economy and culture. The name means "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven" and it was used for more than 500 years. The Japanese destroyed this palace in 1592, it wasn't rebuilt until 1867, then in 1911, the Japanese again leveled all the buildings and put their own colonial headquarters out front. This palace was restored in 1990 and they are still working on it. It looks very similar to the Forbidden City in Beijing. Qing Dynasty China was the only state through which Western culture and ideas were introduced to Korea. We arrived just as they were conducting a changing of the guard. It was awesome!
Gyeongbokgung Palace Changing of the Guard
|See the "guard" on the gate? Pretty big gate!|
|Sedan chair to carry the queen.|
|Body "map" for acupuncture study.|
|Special wheeled chair for the king!|
|Exorcism for Curing Smallpox!|
|The "old folks" 60th birthday party--that was ANCIENT!|
|Don't they serve the food in a fun way? Towers of treats! I want that for MY 60th birthday!|
|And then when you die, they carry your body in this funeral bier--awesome!|
|Chinese Zodiac animals are also used in Korea.|
|The mountains in back look so beautiful.|
|The cement pylons are where the people lined up according to rank.|
|The folk museum is in this pagoda building.|
|A throne room--white circle was the king, red the queen. Note the dragons above.|
|All of the "official buildings" have a throne.|
|This is the banquet pavilion surrounded by a lake--gorgeous! Wouldn't I love to have a party in there!|
|This is the "garden" called Amisan for the queen and 3 concubines (no more). They were "slaves" to the palace and their only job was to provide posterity to the king.|
|A smaller pond and island--would be pretty in summer!|
Korea was the first East Asian country to use the US-based Edison General Electric Company's plan to generate power with this pond's water. Amazing!
|This used to be part of the palace but is now called The Blue House. It is where the President of Korea lives and conducts affairs of state.|
|We left out the front gate where the mountain in back shows its full effect.|
This hemispheric sundial shows not only the time, but the season! He knew the earth was round.
A little farther along we came to the statue of the Korean naval commander, Yi Sun-Shin. He was never formally trained, but he never lost a battle, and was especially revered for beating back the Japanese when he was severely outnumbered.
|Commander Yi Sun-Shin|
|Notice his ship on the statue base.|
|At first we thought this statue was for Christmas, but it's there all the time.|
|I zoomed in on this crazy thing--the arm and hammer move up and down! I assume the Santa hat is only for Christmas!|
The area downtown had a beautiful stream called Cheonggyecheon that had been cleaned up and turned into an art display and nature walk. It used to be a polluted stream and elevated roadway. We walked along and enjoyed the winter wonderland.
|Downtown Seoul - Cheonggyecheon|
|The wishing stone--I got my wish!|
|Frozen Christmas tree|
We found a Mr. Pizza restaurant and decided to give it a try. It was unique and yummy. I love beautiful food!
|Potatoes and bacon; shrimp; and a scone crust with blueberry dipping sauce! Yum!|
We had time the next morning for another temple session. It was the missionary English session. It was such a treat to be with all the missionaries! We felt like part of them. We were truly blessed by taking this opportunity. Who knew we'd end up going to Korea?