Japan & Korea Trip 2017 travel blog

Google Translate with the cab driver

Site of reading of Declaration of Independence from Japan in 1919

Tapgol Park

Tapgol Park

Many girls and women rent hanboks to stroll the neighborhood

Courtyard in front of Gyeongbok Palace

Traditional Korean colors reserved for royal buildings and temples

Our group enjoying our first day together

The King's throne

The ceiling in the room with the King's throne

Students who stopped us to interview us in English

View from Bukchon


We rented a hotspot at the airport so we could be online anywhere and right off the bat used it to communicate with our taxi driver coming in from then airport. He started it to talk to us with his phone! Once I saw him do it via speech only, I signed up and we had a great conversation for the hour-long drive.

We met up with Fred Underwood, our good friend who organized the Korea part of our trip, at our hotel in downtown Seoul. That afternoon we visited Tapgol Park which is where Korean patriots defied the Japanese invaders to read their declaration of independence in 1919 and were brutally repressed. The pagoda pictured is where they read it aloud and the brass panels depict the aftermath.

Our first full day here we visited Gyeingbokgung Palace just one block from our hotel which has huge gardens and many beautiful buildings. There is a very moving memorial to the Empree Myeongseong who was brutally murdered here by the Japanese because she resisted their takeover of Korea and was moving toward better relations with the West.

Then we wandered up the mountainside to explore Bukchon Village, a neighborhood or traditional Korean homes, called hanoks, and many little shops and restaurants. Terrific views of the city below. We had lunch in a traditional Korean restaurant - bibimpap, Ginseng chicken soup, Korean dumplings and other delectable things.

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