This year it so happened that the Mid-Autumn Festival occurred the day before the National Holiday. That meant one extended holiday instead of two separate holidays.
The usual procedure is for expats to leave the country during Chinese holidays, when the Chinese fill every local tourist venue to overflowing. So we decided to go to Seoul, South Korea.
We flew from Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport:
Our flight was delayed an hour. We arrived at the hotel, checked-in, and set out by Metro for the Banpo-daegyo/Banpo Bridge.
Which was a bit surprising, because these three days, September 29-October 1, made up the Korean holiday of Chuseok, like a Korean Thanksgiving.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant, then took the Metro to the War Memorial of Korea.
The first thing you see is the memorial called "The Brothers:"
Inside the dome are mosaic murals:
The central "tower" represents a bronze sword and the tree of life.
The statue group called "Defending the Fatherland" depicts people, both soldiers and refugees:
The Outdoor Exhibition Area has over 100 pieces of equipment:
Including a PKM 301 Chamsuri class patrol boat, marked to replicate the battle-damaged PKM 357 following the Second Battle of Yeonpyeong:
There is a replica of the geobukseon, the turtle-shaped warship, credited to Admiral Yi Sun-sin, which helped the Royal Korean Navy defeat the Japanese in 1598:
The Expeditionary Forces Room showed the Republic of Korea (ROK) forces participating in the Vietnam War and UN peacekeeping efforts.
The ROK Armed Forces Room documents the Korean Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps from the time of their inception until today.
The Large & Defense Industries Equipment Room had the Aircraft Parachutes Exhibition in the Air:
A bulletin board for comments:
We skipped the Combat Experience Room, and the Cinema...
For a comprehensive gallery of photos of the War Memorial of Korea, click here A.
After a couple more Metro trains, we came to the first of four palaces we were to visit. We expected to purchase an All-Palace ticket, but admission was free today!
Changdeokgung, part of Donggwol/East Palace, was the secondary palace built in 1405. After being destroyed by the Japanese in 1592-1598, it was rebuilt in 1610 and served as the main palace until 1868. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Donhwamun, the main gate, was built in 1412, burned in 1592 and restored in 1608:
Injeongjeon/the Throne Hall:
The blue-tiled roof of Seonjeongjeon:
Nakseonjae was built by King Heonjong in 1847:
So we slipped through the back gate into the Changgyeonggung section of Donggwol/the East Palace. This palace was built for three dowager queens when it became too crowded at Changdeokgung, but on the grounds of a former palace.
A child in traditional dress enjoys an ice cream:
Other measuring devices were also on display; an Angbuilgu, a concave sundial:
Holiday lanterns around Chundangji/lake:
Chundangji - the lower part of the lake was once rice paddies that the king would tend; this is the scenic upper portion:
Seoul is a great city, except at this time of year, you occasionally got a whiff of something that smelled like vomit. The culprit: gingko fruit!
It's lunch time!