Now that all the pleasantries are out of the way from finally hitting 1,000,000 views on the site, it’s back to quickly catching up with my most recent international trip to South Korea! Part one of my travels saw me more in the countryside of South Korea, exploring some cool spots in Gyeryongsan National Park. Just a few days later, however, our group finished our performance with the Republic of Korea Navy Band and we had a whole two days to relax and see the sights of downtown Seoul! Last year, free time was essentially non-existent, so I pretty much didn’t know what to do with myself with so much opportunity to explore.
As I typically do when visiting a new place, I “carefully wandered” along with a friend to see what we could stumble across. First up, we made our way to Gyeongbokgung Palace, arguably Seoul’s most popular place for all manner of touristy views. As luck would have it, last year’s performance was right in front of the main gate to the grounds, so getting the chance to actually go inside the massive complex got my shutter trigger finger itching.
I was quite surprised to see so many people, both South Korean nationals and tourists alike, wearing traditional Korean dresses and clothing while visiting the palace grounds. Depending on where they walked and posed for their own photographs, they added that extra bit of human ambience to my shots too! I came to learn afterwards that anyone wearing traditional Korean clothing gets free admission to all the palaces and even some shrines in the Seoul area. Not a bad idea from Seoul to have visitors appreciate the culture even more this way!
Next up, with some rather-slow roaming data, we found our way to Cheonggyecheon Stream, a local hotspot not far from the palace. This urban renewal project transformed a simple run-off stream hidden by streets and overpasses into an almost 7-mile public recreation center with sections for all ages. On this day in particular Yeon Deung Hoe, or the Lotus Lantern Festival, was in full swing, with colorful lanterns decorating much of the first few hundred feet of the stream.
Right before finding a quick place for dinner, we caught sight of hundreds of people scrambling along the sidewalk with their own colorful lanterns in hand. With body language and pointing as my communication tools, I found through a police officer there was going to be a huge parade later in the evening on Jongno Street headed to Jogyesa Temple. Buddha’s birthday is also celebrated within this festival, with many pictures and lantern floats with his imagery.
After what had to have been thousands upon thousands of lanterns, we unfortunately had to leave the parade early to make it back to the hotel shuttle on time. Not pictured: a scramble of finding the right subway line with limited internet for route-making… In the next post, I’ll have a video reel put together of various clips while in South Korea, definitely including parts of this colorful and bright parade!
That’s all for this post, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! With a bit more time I’ll get the final post out from the next day of roaming in Seoul, along with its accompanying video. After that, it’s on to writing a lens review! More than likely, I’ll focus my efforts on the excellent Laowa 105mm T3.2 before moving on to other lenses in my kit. As always, have a great day!