My trip began at 4 am Saturday morning in Pittsburgh when we woke up to make my 6 am flight. After some outrageous luggage fees I boarded a two hour flight to Chicago - had a brief layover until my four hour flight to Vancouver. From Vancouver I boarded a twelve (twelve!) hour flight to Seoul. I sat across the aisle from a very drunk old man who talked and sang loudly for most of the flight and then passed out on the poor woman next to him for the last two hours. I watched several mediocre movies, read, played games on the iphone - but did not sleep a wink because I can't/refuse to sleep on airplanes. So by the time I arrived in Seoul and got through immigration and customs I had been awake for over 24 hrs. Muffy and N8 met me at the airport and we had a wonderful sister reunion. I really think she's happy I'm here and I'm so happy to see her. We jumped on the subway and headed to Kim's guesthouse ( a little hostel) where I showered and promptly went to bed even thought it was only 8:30 pm.
We checked out the next morning at 11 am and went to lunch. I had Kim Chi Chigge (soup) that was cooked right at our table and Kim Chi raddishes and quail eggs. From lunch we headed to the war memorial. The museum was closed but we saw the monuments including large black tablets incribed with the names of the victims of the war - similar to the Vietnam Memorial in DC.
After the war memorial we went to the Jongmyo Shrine where they honor the spirits of past kings and queens. It's in a nice park setting with pagodas for the ceremonies. I'm not much of a sign-reader so I took a picture of the sign for jb to read and recap for me later. (jb and I have very different sightseeing/museum styles. I'm of the glance at everything quickly variety and jb is the type to likes to stop and read every sign, marker, or tablet in its entirety.)
To round out the day we went to Seoul N Tower. It's the highest point in Seoul and has gogeous views of the city.
It also has hundreds of yards of chain link fence around the viewing areas and these fences are covered with padlocks. Thousands and thousands of them. People in love lock the padlocks to each other and to the fence and then throw the keys over the fence to symbolize forever love. Muffy had told me to bring locks, but didn't tell me why - so when we got there and I saw all the locks and they told me the story behind it I was able to add locks for me and Jessica. So now we are eternally locked together in Seoul.
At the end of the day we caught a bus to Gangneung where Muffy and N8 live. Now we are at their (lovely) apartment and getting ready for bed. An yang ee ka seyo!