Saturday, August 22, 2015
We were supposed to take our DMZ tour with USO today. Given the recent events, the DMZ was shut down for tourism purposes. We were really disappointed but are rescheduled to go in 2 weeks’ time. Hopefully, this marathon meeting the two Koreas are having will settle down the tensions and we can proceed as planned. What’s interesting, though, is that the two countries are meeting in Panmunjom, which is where we would have been!
Kevin and I decided not to let the sudden change of plans disrupt our weekend and, despite threats from the North, made our way to Seoul to do some other things on our list!
First stop: Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market.
This place is open 24 hours a day and offers a glimpse into regular life here. There are aisles and aisles full of vendors selling fish of every possible kind. When you want to buy a fish, they take it out of the tank and spear it on the ground, right in front you. There are auctions for shellfish, fresh fish and live fish that begin at the very early (late?) hour of 1:00 AM. This is where all the merchants come to get their fish for the day’s cooking. If you are tourists like we are, you may want to purchase some fish that you can then bring to one of the attached restaurants. They will prepare the fish for you to eat and provide side dishes. We didn’t do this, but it’s a cool idea. Great place to try the live octopus I bet!
Next Stop: The War Memorial of Korea
This memorial also serves as a museum of Korea’s wartime history. It was a really interesting place, but what I found the most interesting were the artifacts from The Korean War in the 50’s. We were also inside the War Memorial at 5:00 PM, the deadline Kim Jong Un gave South Korea to turn off the propaganda speakers or face strong military counteraction.It was a fitting coincidence.
Last Stop: N Seoul Tower
N Seoul Tower, or Namsan Tower, or Seoul Tower, is a communications and observation tower on top of Namsan Mountain in the heart of Seoul. There are a few different ways you can get to the base of the tower, and we opted for the cable car. It’s 8,500 KRW round-trip which isn’t bad. The wait for the cable car can be around an hour or more at very busy times, so if you want to catch the sunset, plan accordingly. We saw the sunset while we were going up the cable-car but by the time we made it to the observation deck, it was gone. 😦 Regardless, I think I got some great photos and I am excited to share them with you!
All of these photos (with the exception of 2 from the War Memorial due to needing a wide angle from my phone) were shot with my Canon EOS 70D and 50mm lens. I did not have a tripod but at the tower, there were ledges at each window upon which I was able to set my camera for some long exposure shots. Very thrilled with that. Hope you enjoyed all the photos and if you ever find yourself in Seoul, I’d recommend ALL of these places.