[Short] Day Seven

Our last day in Seoul. We knew we’d be spending the afternoon with K at the orphanage, so in the morning we decided to visit two of Seoul’s Joseon Dynasty palaces: Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung.

Geyeongbokgung is the older of the two palaces, dating back to 1394. It’s been burned and rebuilt several times over the centuries. We arrived just in time to see the changing of the guard:

Some of the sights of Gyeongbokgung…

The throne hall:

Gyeonghoeru pavilion:

A view of Inwangsan mountain (where we’d hiked the day before):

After Gyeongbokgung, we took a taxi to explore the nearby palace of Changdeokgung. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, so all the tours are guided. The main gate:

A map/painting of how the two main palaces looked in the 1820s:

Inside the throne hall:

One of the most outstanding features of Changdeokgung is Biwon, or the Secret Garden. It’s a huge space of forest, paths, gardens, ponds, and buildings, and it’s breathtakingly beautiful. Some of the pictures from Biwon:

After the tours of the palaces, we had lunch at Red Mango (it was finally open!):

Then it was time to go the orphanage. When we got there, we’d already missed Mrs. S. and K was having a tough time coping. She was tired, upset, and frightened, and there was very little anyone could do to calm her. Eventually she fell asleep in my arms, after a lot of rocking, patting, and singing (thank you, Mrs. S., for playing the songs I sent!):

When she woke up she was happy and calm. We ate snacks together, walked around the orphanage, and played with toys. After a few short hours it was time for us to leave…and time for K to spend the night at the orphanage. We wished she could have been with Mrs. S. that night, but with the early flight time all the babies had to stay at the orphanage.

We did some shopping (stocking up on K’s favorite snacks), then walked around Insadong for a little while. We were sad about leaving Seoul, sad about K leaving Seoul, and worried about how she was doing at the orphanage without her foster family. It wasn’t a very festive evening. For dinner we chose Gogung Restaurant. The food was good, and their specialty drink (moju) was something I’d wanted to try:

After dinner it was time to pack. We headed back to the Sun Bee, packed for a few hours, then went to sleep. The next day meant 24 hours of travel…this time with a new baby.

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~ by themagpiesnest on June 27, 2008.

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