April 2015


Not to forget Seoul…

National Museum of Korea

The pond out front of the National Museum of Korea.

It’s not that I forgot to blog about Seoul, it’s that I ran out of time and there were other, more pressing things.

That said, Seoul is a city I could imagine myself living in. It’s clean, interesting, full of friendly people, and easy to navigate. I had a fantastic time in Seoul – with one minor, bizarre, exception – and would happily return to explore more of the city.

Ihwa Mural Village

Ihwa Mural Village – the road into the village.

Ihwa Mural Village

Ihwa Mural Village: Evoi

My first full day in Seoul was spent doing two main things: exploring the Ihwa Art Village (or: Ihwa Mural Village), which is a tightly packed, hilly neighborhood filled with a large number of murals – many of which are cool, a few of which are awesome, and a couple of which left me scratching my head. While I was there – a Wednesday morning, it was crawling with school groups.

Ihwa Mural Village

Climbing the fish ladder of Ihwa Mural Village.

The other thing I did was go to the Korea Furniture Museum – to which I offer a strange, mixed, review: The museum, once you get there, is amazing. The furniture on display tells a story of Korea’s cultural history that I highly recommend.

With a few major caveats – I actually left the museum angry because they would not call me a taxi – even after I pointed out that I didn’t have a phone that worked in Korea (I did have my German phone, but really?) – she wanted me to walk to the nearest bus stop or call myself. Now, before you call me childish, the museum is on top of a steep hill, with a narrow, windy, two lane road between its entrance and the next street. At least one blind curve in there that made me, as a pedestrian, rather nervous. The museum even recommends taking a taxi from the nearest subway station to them, so it’s a bit strange that they refused to call a taxi for me.

The other annoyances revolve around little things: they never responded to my email (sent well in advance) for a reservation. I had to ask a Korean friend to contact them on my behalf (and they also ignored his email, so he had to call) in order to get a reservation. My tour guide also stuck to script and rushed me through the museum in almost exactly one hour – she ignored 95% of my questions – and I was the only person on the English language tour.  (The museum’s website is also bizarrely designed…)

In short, the museum’s content is amazing, but everything else about the Korea Furniture Museum sucks.

Ihwa Mural Village

While this is near the Ihwa Mural Village, it’s not a mural. I found the gas lines to make a rather pretty figure.

I spent Thursday and Friday wandering the city – I hit a few museums (including the fabulous National Museum of Korea), wandered some shops, looked at pretty scenery, and watched trading going on in some of the enormous markets around town.

Dried Fish

Dried fish for sale in one of Seoul’s markets.

Like Taipei, I think that I could have spent a lot more time in Seoul – I want to return.

Man on the Street

A blue man along the streets of Seoul.

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