*Warning! My spell check seems to have turned itself off, and I'm rushing to get this off before head off for the airport!*
As I mentioned, there are a million awesome cultural opportunities right inside the city of Seoul. Jeff scheduled a DMZ tour for Thursday (shockingly enough, they don't allow children under age 10 to go to the DMZ?? Can you even imagine??), so that day, I planned to take the children to Lotte World, the World's Largest Indoor Amusement Park. But Wednesday was a free family day, so I was charged with coming up with Seoul Touring Options. Easy peasy!
Okay, family, listen up, show of hands for where you want to go!
1. Gyeongbokgung Palace (subway stop # 327!): The main palace of the Joseon Dynasty, with beautiful and relaxing grounds.
2. Changdeokgung Palace (subway stop # 328!): UNESCO has designated this well presereved place a World Cultural Heritage site! Biwon is the ideal Korean garden!
3. Insa-dong Traditional Cultural Street (subway stop #329!): With antique bookstores, shopes and traditional cafes as well as famous art galleries, this street provides you with a taste of the traditions and arts of Korea!
and because I am an idiot, I threw in this last tidbit.
4. Oh, and there is a KTX high speed train that runs around here somewhere. We could go see Busan, a port city, and see dead fish at the fish market.
The show of hands was instant. They all wanted to ride the high speed train to see dead fish! I finally, begrudgingly agreed (hello! Palaces! On the Subway!), only because I could entitle this post Seoul Train. I am a sucker for a good pun.
And in truth, I have always loved train travel, but what I realize as our children get older is that what I love about train travel is immersing myself in me. Reading, knitting, thinking, looking out the window. What I don't love about train travel is that small children require some attention during the trip. And this particular trip, which I did not actually do any research on, turned out to be three high speed hours all the way across Korea.
And so, off we went.
So, when I say that we traveled all the way across Korea, I'm not really kidding. I did do enough research to suggest that all we needed to do was head to the train station. High speed trains to Busan run every half hour or so. We arrived, bought our tickets, and settled in for a three hour train ride.
Busan, I will say, for the brief period of time we spent there was also fabulous. It is a port city and has the same sort of highly evolved subway system that Seoul boasts. There was tons of easy access tourist info, and we were easily able to hop the subway and head over to the fish market. Which was everything you would expect from a fish market. It was a little more retail than commercial, but the stalls were row after row of one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, as well as, old fish, new fish, fat fish, small fish, flat fish, squid, snails, mollusks of every sort thing and the occasional octopus. Some photos: