Being a tourist in Seoul

This is actually the last blog post from South-Korea. This is a representative collection of everything we did and all the pictures we took. These last pictures are from our first two days in the city, exploring Korea and Seoul.

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Back to when we wandered around the old part of town.

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Erik wanted me in a picture with a flower.

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Great tea 🙂

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The stair that was carved out of the base rock.

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Me trying on sunglasses. But I have wowed not to spend more than 100 NOK, so I didn’t get them.

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Pictures of interiour.

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See? Free sunglasses from Hafslund x Øya.

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Little kid trying to do the v with his fingers.

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Pink wings.

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Normal Korean food, folded fish cakes on sticks and soup. And crazy hot red rice things.

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Kimchi from a Chinese restaurant, you got it with every kind of food.

 

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Street food. To the right you see those pancakes that we had here in Oslo, but actually never tried in Korea.

A visit to the Korean national museum

One of the first things we did in Korea was to go to the national history museum in Seoul. The whole internet said we should go and we really needed to learn some history. It’s amazing how little we learn of history outside our own bubble (Europe) when we go to school.

So what we were mostly interested in was what happened when, who have ruled Korea, how has the country developed, which are the important historic events and what has defined Korea. As we only knew what has happened after 1945, there was a lot to learn.

I won’t write the complete history of Korea here, but some important bits are that Korea has been a monoculture for almost 8000 years. They have always have a good relationship with the part of China that is closest and a more sour relationship with Japan. Many big heroes have come out of the fights with Japan. Korea has almost always been extremely stable, all dynasties have ruled for a long time (up to 800 years), they have always been reasonably well off and quite techinally advanced. Few wars and little unrest.

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Outside the main builing og the museum. There were many buildings and a big garden that were also part of the museum. I don’t remember where everything was from, but I will try and write something.

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This is the gold crown of the Shilla empire that was found in those burial mounds we visited. They are more than a 1000 years old and of the most intricate details.

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When I see things like this I always compare to Norway. What did we do a 1000 years ago? We were all caught up in ordinary and rudimentary agriculture, wooden houses and bad food. Imagine cultures like these? No wonder the vikings travelled.

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This is a stone pagoda, they are everywhere in Korea.

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It was three stories tall, I think.

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We had a look at Buddahs and learned some of the symbolism of how he is positioned.

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This is a temple gong from a Buddhist temple.

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Then there is fine pottery made in Korea a long time ago.

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A certain time period is defined by this greenish colour.

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Korea has always drawn inspiration both from China and Japan, even though the three countries are very different.

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There were separate rooms on the influences from different countries. Very illuminating.

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After a quick tour with an English speaking guide, we went back to the exhibition on the history of Korea and had a closer loog on the handicraft work.

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It reminded me of the travelling Afghan exhibition I saw in Trondheim a couple of years ago, with the hidden Afghan golden treasures.

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The oldest things made by man, found in Korea. There are very old settlements in the country and it is fascinating to learn about, for a person who comes from a country that everyone walked into, but it took a long time to make a country and one culture.

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I was very happy with the museum and very happy that we went. Understanding some of the history made the journey in Korea richer and more interesting.

Gyeongju – the old capital

We did a pit stop between Seoul and Busan on our way South, to see some of the countryside and to look at some historic places. So we went to Gyeongju, which was the capital of Silla from 57 BC – 935 AD, to see where the treasures we had seen at the Korean History museum in Seoul were found.

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All the treasures were found in old burial mounds of kings, like these.

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We walked through the park of historic mounds.

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Had lunch at a Japanese restaurant. They do distinct Korean Japanese food.

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Neo-Korean, maybe?

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Umbrella as an fashion statement.

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Traditional teapots of clay.

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Love the details of the buildings.

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Especially the colours.

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And we found a beautiful tree (I’m actually looking at the ants on the tree trunk in this picture).

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Yes, that is my swimsuit 😉

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We found this amazing place.

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Where they grew squash.

 

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Also these prickly things.

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And just behind them we found flowers!

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They had this car that would drive the tourists around.

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Notice the dark skies behind her? We bought an umbrella from her just an hour later, I think, because we were drowning in the downpour.

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This is where they found the big crown and everything.

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And then, in the middle of a field, we found this picture board of a princess on a horse. Which of us is the prettiest one?

 

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Third day in Seoul

We walked through the big market where we lived, we went to the international part of Seoul and we found a fancy cafe and a wonderful coffee place (like the one in Italy!). The picture up loader automatically reversed the pictures, so from the end of the day:

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A poster of Norway some random place in the metro.

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Golfing in the big city.

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Cute street art. The only we saw, I think.

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Hipster table at the coffee place. I think it is an old door.

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The roaster and roaster room.

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The “café” part, where they brewed.

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The outside og the coffee place.

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Colourful houses.

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The cool café. It was for living in, sort of. A place to sleep, a smoking room, the café itself, tables and a work space. And you could choose the music that was playing 🙂 And it was very stylish.

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One very popular guitarist out on the street.

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And a very talented girl who did paintings for money. We stood watching her for quite some time. Very fascinating.

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Oh, and some chefs who were watching everyone from the roof top.

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A random shot of a cool Korean, the foreigner button on the machine,

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Korean sports wear and a whole story in a department store with second hand electronics,

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Norway was a part of the Korean war, which is now 60 years ago,

 

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cute signs, Vespa in Seoul,

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markets,

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and nice china.

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A whole day in one post.