Saturday, August 23, 2014

Seoul sights, August 15

Coming out of Jogyae-sa, we saw tons of police just... sitting there. Waiting.

I asked some of the young police guys what they were waiting for. Was all this for the pope? No, they said: this was simply because it was a national holiday.

Evening crept up on us as we strolled along a section of the Cheonggyae-cheon. Here's a shot as we approached the western end of the stream:

As we neared the Lotte Hotel, we encountered this modernist replica of the Cheomseongdae observatory that had been commissioned in the early days of the Shilla Dynasty by Queen Seondeok (by "early" I mean pre-Unified Shilla).

The last photo, below, shows a sign in the lobby of the Lotte Hotel in the Myeongdong district, downtown Seoul, welcoming Pope Francis to South Korea. The lobby wasn't actually as dark as it appears in the photo; I guess my phone was having trouble handling the light contrast (I may have left it set on "night" mode after I had taken the Cheomseongdae picture).

Our day ended not long after that. Sean and Jeff retired to Itaewon to get ready for the trip to Cambodia; I went back to my temporary apartment in Karak-dong, then met the two guys the following day, accompanying them to the airport in a taxi. The cost of the taxi ride was W46,000, but when spread over three people, the per-person cost was about the same as a limousine-bus ride would have cost us (W15,000 or W16,000 per ticket). In all, I thought our mega-stroll on August 15 went well, and both Sean and Jeff pronounced Jongno their favorite part of town, in agreement with my own sentiments.


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