Gyeongbokgung Palace

Gyeongbokgung, also known as Gyeongbokgung Palace or Gyeongbok Palace, is a royal palace located in northern Seoul, South Korea. First constructed in 1394 and reconstructed in 1867, it was the main and largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. The name of the palace, Gyeongbokgung, translates in English as "Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven."

This was our very first tourist stop. We met up with Dan's neice Denice who has been living in Seoul for 3 years now, and she helped us get acquainted with subway system. Here's our first ride on the 'train'!

It turns out that traveling with two young kids in a stroller on the subway system is not a very good idea. They had elevators that would lead you to sets of stairs or escalators with no way of getting up or down them without collapsing the stroller, carrying it up and walking with the kids. This was a frustrating note for me b/c I learned that I couldn't travel on the subway by myself with both kids in the stroller, something I had been counting on doing. I'll either need to purchase an umbrella stroller for Alex that can be managed on escalators or walk with both kids. If anyone knows Alex well enough, they know that getting from point A to point B is not an easy task!

Once at Gyeongbokgung I was floored to see another thriving metropolis. It seems that Seoul is this gigantic, never-ending downtown city. This area houses a lot of the embassies, including the U.S. embassy.

Then as your walking down the street, on your left appears this beautiful entrance gate. It had been destroyed several decades earlier and was just recently finished.


Then we made our way onto the palace grounds. The scenery was beautiful and it was a great adventure for the boys to have.

Family portrait!

Dragons guarding the rivers

Being the boys that they are, the found the dirt. The koreans seemed to think it was entertaining to watch the American boys getting dirty. At least it wasn't considered rude!

Royal Crest/Seal

Runaway Alex

Golden dragons on the ceiling of the Throne Room

The throne

I just love all of the colorful detail

Say Cheese!

A Korean woman used her umbrella to shade my face!

Lost in translation?

Each little piece on the roof is a different animal, supposedly portraying an old folk story!

Koi fish pond and palace on the water

This is where our children became the tourist attraction. I had heard that Koreans were fascinated with American children, but posing with them in pictures? And multiple times? These boys better get used to it!

The next palace required us to take our shoes off before entering

The Queen's garden

After Dan had already bumped his head, this sign was a little too late

Teeny tiny door inside a tunnel... what could it be for? Fire? Hide and seek?

Tradition says if you walk through this door, you will get eternal life

I took this picture because you can just barely make out the Seoul Tower. It just shows you how far we were from our hotel, being clear on the other side of the mountain out our front window.

Now that we were done touring it was time to eat. Dan and I wanted a tradition Korean meal, even if the kids wouldn't eat it.

Eel anyone?

Here's the side street we were walking down to find dinner. Each little restaurant offered something different. Thankfully Denice was there to help us figure out what that was or we might have ended up with just soup.

We settled on this quaint and beautiful little place where they cook the meat for you and serve up the traditional Korean sides to share.

What a great adventure it was! I can't wait to have many many more during our time here!


The Knitting Bea said...

Did you find out what the teeny tiny door was in the first palace? It looks enchanting!

Also: I know you've had (still have?) back problems in the past, but maybe carrying Alex in a carrier (think Ergo or something back-pack-like, not a sling) is an option for travel on the subway? That way you know exactly where he is at all times and you don't have to worry about a stroller. Of course the point is moot if your back isn't able to handle it ;) My two cents!

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