The Eastern Palace: Changdeokgung

This is actually what I did last Sunday, but I didn’t want to leave it out and I didn’t have time to write. I’ll be catching up with this weekend’s events soon. Anyway, last Sunday, kind of on the spur of the moment, I jumped up and decided to go to Seoul and see a few of the palaces, since I had never been and it wasn’t that far. So I jumped on a bus and stopped into Bupyeong Station and grabbed something to eat before I left.

I usually visit this one woman in the Bupyeong Station Lotte Mart Food Court, and she recognizes me as being a regular since I eat there nearly 3 times a week and I kind of stand out. Even though I enjoy eating there and she enjoys my patronage, I usually try not to eat there on weekends, since I typically have to eat lunch in Bupyeong Station during the week because I’m at Culcom and then I go straight to work. I didn’t want to wait until I got to Seoul, so I sat down to eat sushi.

Now, I used to work in a sushi restaurant in the states and I’ve eaten sushi many places, like Portland and Japan, so I feel like I’m fairly familiar with the subject. At our restaurant in the states, we had many traditional offering, but we also had a certain amount of fusion going on to cater to the American palette, such as the Philly roll, a chicken teriyaki roll, a beef teriyaki roll, California roll, and a couple other rolls that had cream cheese in them, which was popular in Tennessee, although I couldn’t fathom why. I had expected a similar amount of fusion in Korean sushi (especially since Kimbab, with is basically very Korean sushi, exists) but I was unprepared for the types of fusion I encountered. I had a roll with a fish stick on top of it. A roll topped with spam. Very different kind of stuff. At first I was surprised, but then I realized that topping sushi with spam really wasn’t stranger than putting cream cheese in a roll, so I went with it.

Anyway, after sushi, I went off to Changdeokgung, which is one of the five grand palaces. Of the five, it is the only one designated as a Unesco World Heritage site, so I thought it would be a good place to start. After the hour long train ride, the palace was pretty easy to locate. The ticket was inexpensive and I had until 6pm to go around the palace. I arrive a bit late, so I missed the last English tour, but I didn’t really mind. I wanted to walk the palace grounds at my own pace anyway. However, I was not allowed in the Secret Garden area since you need a tour guide to go in, so I’ll have to go back if I want to see that.

One of my favorite photos I took.

Now, I had never been to a palace in Korea before, so I didn’t know what to expect. The closest I’ve ever been was when I visited Himeji Castle, or Osaka Castle in Japan. They aren’t really analogous at all. The Japanese castles were beautiful, but they were compact, tight structures. You could tell they were built for defense. A king didn’t live there, a warlord did. They were lavish, beautiful military installations.

The Korean Palace couldn’t be farther from that. Sure, there were walls around it, but it didn’t look like it was built for defense at all. The buildings were spaced out and had large chambers. The architecture possessed a larger amount of delicate details. While walking around the palace, it seemed more of a place where a King would live. A more relaxing, peaceful place. Changdeokgung specifically was built in harmony with the surrounding, with walls traveling up hills instead of digging into them. There was even a 750-year-old juniper in the temple they built around so they could use it for rituals.

This tree has been around 3 times longer than the United States has been an independent nation

I thought the royal tombs were beautiful, but nothing like this palace. It was truly a remarkable place to visit. I plan on setting up a photo gallery somewhere so that people can see all the awesome pictures from Changdeokgung (and other places), but I’m not sure where I’m going to put it yet. Whenever I figure it out, I’ll make a post about it. I’ll be adding more posts this week to try to catch up.

 

Advertisements

~ by James on April 9, 2012.

One Response to “The Eastern Palace: Changdeokgung”

  1. […] rolls with cornflakes on top of them… All the things I have said about Korean sushi before on this post remain completely true in this case. In addition, there was a wide array of delicious foods that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: