Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Beondegi 번데기

One of surprises of this trip was the willingness of everyone to try beondegi at our river picnic. A Korean snack food which is boiled or steamed silkworm pupae. 

Raccoon Cafe

One interesting aspect of Korean culture are the animal cafes. Because of the population density, Koreans are often living in apartments and have not typically been pet owners. Although that is changing somewhat - you see a few dog walkers here and there, some Koreans like to be around animals, so there are cat and dog cafes where you can interact with the pets while having a cup of coffee or tea. This one was really strange - a cafe which had raccoons living there. We checked it out after the fortress wall hike and lunch. 

Final trip reflection

Well...unfortunately our time in Seoul is over. Reflecting back on the past week of food, tours, and cultural experiences, your final assignment is to post two to three paragraphs sharing your thoughts on the trip: What did you learn about Korean culture? What surprised you? What did you learn about yourself? What had the most impact? etc.

Thanks for being such a great group! It was a pleasure sharing this experience with you all.

Hiking the fortress wall

For our final morning in Seoul, we decided to have an outdoor adventure and hike a portion of the fortress wall. At one time the wall enclosed the entire city. Due to the various wars and occupations, much if it no longer exists or has been rebuilt. The section we hiked runs behind the palace and Blue House (home of the president, similar to White House). During the two hours of up and down terrain, we learned the tales of wars, battles, and even North Korean invasion attempts.
Here we're standing under the "water gate," one of the few gates still connected to the wall.
We made it to the top! Pretty exhausted, but still smiling!

I (Dotty) look much better here than I felt! Although it was great to know that it was all downhill from here.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Picnic in Hanyang Park

What better way to enjoy a warm spring evening than a bike ride and picnic in the park? Clearly we weren't the only ones with this idea :)

National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA)

Excellent museum highlighting contemporary artists whose work is a commentary on modern Korean society.
This piece juxtaposes an image of a rare over-fished Korean favorite placed in an empty subway car.

Noryangjin Fish Market Tour

Today we met back up with Soul of Seoul Tours for a tour of Seoul's oldest wholesale fish market.
A new side to the market opened in 2016, but not without controversy. Only 60% of vendors have been willing to transition over to the modern style market.
After touring, our guide purchased some fish for lunch. The man below is filleting a flounder for "hwe," the Korean version of shashimi.
Mmmmm...baby octopus.
And the aftermath of one of the trip's best meals.