Today, I take it easy.
As I walk out of the Hotel, I see a Buddhist temple busy with people going in and out. It is the Jogyesa Temple. I can see the same mixture of practitioners, at Jogyesa they practice Korean Seon Buddhism, and tourists that I have seen in other Buddhism temples. At the entrance, a small water fountain pushes water up breaking the ice. It’s a cold day and it will take some more hours of sun to get it warmer.
At a 10 minutes walk from Jogyesa, I visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace. As I approach the Gwanghwamun Gate, I can see the gate and walls with Mount Bugak in the background. It is a beautiful view.
When I arrive, there is a “change of the guard” act. Tourist gather around the main entrance to see the guards. A voice from the megaphone speakers explains what’s going on, in Korean and English. Some guards carry instruments that they play as part of the performance. I walk around the palace complex. There are visitors with traditional dresses taking pictures, it’s a very alife place.
I have noticed that my camera is a good conversation starter. Someone starts to look at the camera with interest. And then, they will make some comment that allows for a conversation to happen.
In the National Folk Museum of Korea, inside the Gyengbokgung Palace walls, a kid talks with me. He says something about the camera and pictures, that I do not get. But, as I show interest he tries again and asks where I am from in English. I tell him and ask him back. He is from Seoul. I see that now he is happy, having practiced his English and moves on. I have seen quite an interest in practicing English by Koreans. And, as usual, the conversation starts with some comment about my camera.
The Folk Museum is
I stop for lunch. I ask for some noodles to the surprise of the staff. At first, I don’t get what is so surprising about noodles. Then, a guy comes from the kitchen and asks me – in perfect English – to confirm the order. I ordered cold noodles and its freezing outside. I will have no problem eating something cold in cold weather. But, I actually ordered it without realizing that was a cold dish. So, I ask for what do they recommend. I get a very hot pork stew. It is delicious and hot.
I walk from the restaurant, close to Seonjeongneung burial grounds, to the Gangnam district. I pass by some residential areas. It is a quiet neighborhood until I arrive at Gangnam-
Going back to the Hotel I get down in a station before the closest one to it. I like to walk around cities and see what non-touristic places look like. There are always interesting places to see that are not worth crossing a continent. But, once there, it is a pleasure to visit them.