Hi there Fragrant Friends,
On to the South Korea leg of our latest adventure. Jin planned this part of our holiday to the millisecond and we filled our days with so much it’s hard to keep it all in order.
South Korea 2015
Jin had decided that this time we would do the history and art/museum tour of Seoul. I had said through the year that we seemed to do everything except see the cultural heritage of South Korea and he was determined to remedy this lack. We had three days in Seoul and two of them were given almost exclusively to the acquisition of aforesaid knowledge. As always Jin was an excellent guide and translator, thank goodness because some of the places we saw were so South Korean oriented that there we no translations for me to follow. The real deal.
Because we were so busy I took the camera out less while we were in the middle of stuff. There are quite a few shots of interesting or unusual architecture and light bi-plays, some of flowers because it was spring and the flowers were gorgeous and a few of us hanging out with Jin’s family because we took his Mum & Dad for their first holiday in decades. It was Jin’s Father’s birthday and we thought it would be a fun thing to celebrate. Older Koreans as a rule do not take holidays so it was especially fun to take them and it will give them a story to brag about for years among their contemporaries.
Wood Block Printing of Unified Silla: The Buddhists came to Korea from India in the 5th century AD and landed in Silla in southern Korea which was still a selection of kingdoms. The Silla people had united the lower third of what is now South Korea under their rule. The Buddhist priests learned how to carve wood blocks that would print on cloth and paper and used this technology to create more Buddhist Sutras, currently the oldest still extant piece of printed material in the world was created by these monks in the 7th century AD and it is the Buddhist Sutras. There was war and 80,000 of these hand carved wood blocks were moved hundreds of kilometers by the monks and the faithful to a mountainous region in the middle of South Korea. It is a place that Jin’s Mum had wanted to visit for a very long time and had a very nice hotel with mineral water baths so we decided we would go there. It was Jin’s parent first time staying in a hotel rather than the much cheaper pension style of guest house. They were thrilled and constantly trying to stop us spending money on them, having breakfast in the hotel restaurant an outrageous extravagance. A good time was had by all.
We also went through a lovely Korean Wildflower Park, a Bonsai Exhibition where the woman who owns and tends the bonsai took us through personally and explained some of the more interesting pieces, the Mineral Baths at the hotel and loads of local cuisine (some of which I could not bring myself to eat, yes I’m a food pussy). Jin’s mother wants us to have children, I told her to get stuffed.
South Korea 2015 Photo Essay
Seoul Airport Train Station is a marvelous modern structure that lets light and space feel like its main focus. I love arriving and entering its cavernous platform, every hour has different reflections and shadows
Straight to Lottie Burger for Jin’s Bulgogi Burger and my Cheesy Sticks. MMMMMM. Welcome to South Korea.
Street Food BarBQ vendor, full of students and the working class we knew it would be delicious. So reasonably priced too, I think we paid $40 including Jin’s Soju and my soft drinks.
My only fragrant shopping on the holiday, an Hermes 15ml set: Ambre Narguile, Cuir d’Ange, Poivre Samarcande, Vetiver Tonka
One of the original gates into the capital city, this has stood for a very long time. Centuries.
Changing Of The Guard at the Palace complex.
All pieces by the same artist, Jung Takyoung, whose art reminds me of Liz Zorn’s work
Seoul Art History Museum, we saw about 30 of their most beautiful and famous National Treasures. Our original guide was so shit we ran away from him and took ourselves around some of the exhibits. Finally we met a small group being shown the National Treasures by a very well informed and interesting young woman, she was so passionate that we were completely swept up in her stories. Fabulous.
The lilacs were in bloom, what a beautiful scent they have.
Jin being posh at a chi-chi 33rd floor restaurant & bar, we arrived just before closing thinking it had another hour to go.
All part of another Palace Complex, that door was so fabulous I just had to get a pic.
At the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art there was so much amazing stuff but these are the only two pictures I took. It’s a shame because the works were really great. Currently they have a multi-room exhibition all based around gardens and how they are so many things to the people that are lucky enough in 2015 to have one. So many South Koreans live in high rise apartments that may never know the joys of having their own garden to tend.
This peony bush going gangbusters in the cold foggy early morning spring air across thew road from Jin’s parents house
The modern South Korean garden and a couple of the hundreds of bonsai created by one woman with a great passion, these two were ones she showed particular regard and pride for. She was so shy to show her plant children but became very enthusiastic once she understood that I too loved to garden and that I had been brought up in a garden, tending it and creating it, with my Mum.
We had a little snack on our first night in the hotel restaurant in the mountains. Jin’s Mummy & Papa kept being outraged at the prices and then savouring every morsel that we got for them. Those walls are all carved creamy stone (maybe marble?) attached so perfectly you could hardly see a join. So lovely.
These three shots are of the monks mountain hideaway. It’s a wonderful parkland setting and you can take the whole day to walk from the base of the hill to the monastery, there are stations along the way where you can stop for refreshment and a rest, even some street food vendors. We were naughty and caught a cab up and back.
Mummy & Papa saying goodbye at the Busan Train station. It was an excellent holiday and I really enjoyed my time with them.
Jin and I on the plane and ready to come home.