My day started off at 9am when my same close family friends picked me up outside of my dorm. They kindly greeted me with strawberry milk and a sandwich (yes, for breakfast) from Paris Baguette.
We drove to Gyeongbokgung Palace(경복궁) which was so incredible. I got tears in my eyes seeing this place. It is a huge historic palace in the heart of the modern city of Seoul. It is surrounded by a big white wall, and it spans a big area. The architecture is just beautiful. And the ceremony-thing we happened to see at the right time was just great. Something with the guards – perhaps guard changing or something? I honestly don’t remember, actually.
Afterwards we walked around outside to where the presidential Blue House is. I took only a few pictures that I could from afar.
You can see the “house” is white, however the roof is blue!
Next stop, lunch at a “Korean traditional style” restaurant, called 경복궁(Gyeongbokgung, yes the same name as the palace!). We had our own private room which was pretty neat. We ordered bulgogi(불고기 – beef) which the lady prepared for us on the grill on our table. It was so delicious! I kept spooning in more sauce onto my plate. We also had many side dishes of assorted kimchi types, as well as pumpkin soup and denjangjjigae – which was spectacular! It was a really nice time.
We headed to Insadong(인사동) shortly thereafter for some shopping. Insadong is great for foreigners and tourists who want to pick up some “super Korean” or “too Korean” – as one of my Korean friends calls it – souvenirs. There I even saw souvenirs I have received as gifts. I bought things like traditional Korean-themed mugs, key chains, compact mirrors, and so on. I also bought some cute Korean socks, and my friend ended up buying me some things including a teddy bear wearing traditional Korean wear (한복 – HanBok).
After Insadong, we went to the N-Seoul Tower! (남산타우워) This was exciting. We parked, took a cable car up, then went inside and took an elevator to the observation deck. Unfortunately, it was very hazy today again, so the view was not as top-notch. But it was definitely really neat being able to walk around 360 degrees of the Seoul Tower, and to see Seoul beneath me.
I went back to my dorm finally after a long day. About an hour later I met my friend and her two friends (from Korea) for dinner. We went to a nice Italian (Korean-Italian) restaurant called Forcitta. The food was good! And now, I need to sleep. Hanyang orientation tomorrow morning!