Mittwoch, 16. Mai 2012

May 16 - Seoul
After a really good sleep I got up at 8:00, had breakfast as usual and met my 2 guides for that day in the lobby of the YH again at 10:00 a.m.. I was guided by 2 women, Min (25 years old) and Sunny (around 17). They took me to the Namdaemun Market first. The market is famous for local goods as Ginseng, spices, accessories etc.

huge dumblings at Namdaemun Market
handmade accessories (very cheap)
different stalls with differnt handmade accessories
Sunny and I at Namdaemun Market
my lovely guides Sunny and Min (from the left)
spices at the market

huge plastic bags full of garlic
fresh fish

From the market we walked to "Myung-dong", the main shopping area in Seoul.

downtown Seoul

Seoul Tower
Sunny and her future husbands:-)
(=> She loves KPOP (=Korean POP) and most of the singers)

The North Face can be found everywhere...
Korean-English menu, jipii:-) and information about the noddles

information about the dumblings
our lunch (the red Kimchi I couldn't eat as always...)
  Korea is famous for beauty! Advertisments and TV commercials about plastic surgery and cosmetics belong to the daily life and can be found everywhere. It is also a good place to buy cosmetics. Following the example of the locals I went to a beauty shop and bought my own beauty masks:-)

famous beauty shop in Korea
Myeongdong Cathedral
information about the Cathedral
 After shopping and visiting the church we took the cable car on the top of the hill where the Seoul Tower, the town's landmark, stands.
Seoul Tower, 236m high

next to the Seoul Tower:
2 locks are locked together by couples in love and hung up to form a tree
(similiar to the locks in Cologne)

misty view from the hill to the city

misty view from the hill to the city

Min, Katja and Sunny at the view point
eating German chocolatecake ice cream:-)
 When we had finished to enjoy the view and eating our ice cream we went to the teddy bear museum, which was divided in two parts: past and present:

in front of the museum

in the teddy bear museum's shop
The teddy bear story from the museum
"A long time ago, Hwanin's son, Hwanung, descended onto Sindansu at the top of  Taebaek Mountain with a group of 3,000 ministers to rule and civilize humans.
A bear and a tiger living in the same cave near Sindansu prayed to God that they may become human.
God gave them a bundle of mugwort and 20 cloves of garlic and said "If you eat only this food and remain out of the sunlight for 100 days, you will become humans."
The tiger lost patience and relinquished its quest, but the bear presevered for 21 days and finally transformed into a woman.
Hwanung took the bear-woman, named Ungnye, for his wife who gave birth to a son.
Delighted, Hwanung and Ungnye named their son Dangun Wanggeom. Dangun Wanggeom later founded the kingdom of Joseon, which he ruled for 1,500 years before becoming the guardian spirit of the mountains.
As emphasized in this story, the bear is an animal with deep ties to our nation, as the birth of Korea was brought about by the union between a bear turned into a human and the son of heaven. The story of Ungnye, who persisted in eating only mugwort and garlic and finally becoming a human in 21 days, was passed down from generation to generation elevating the bear as a symbol of resolute perseverance and forbearance.
Today we say "Gomapseumnida (meaning "thank you")" to express gratitude, for expample, when someone offers you a seat or does something kind for you. The word "Gomapseumnida" derives from a pure Korean word "gom" (meaning "bear"). Perhaps this is why a bear, a fierce species in fact, is generally considered a friendly animal to us?"

Part one of the museum, displaying the past:

Vibrant cuisine of Joseon's Court
some information about the vibrant cuisine

traditional market
some information about the marketplace

the Emperor

some information about the Emporer
Part one of the museum, displaying the present:

scene from Myeong-dong
some information about Myeong-dong
Min and me
And a piece of home:-)

replica of "The bears Wedding"
information about the replica
The 5 teddy bears are the only remaining pieces of "The Bears' Wedding" showpieces made at that time.
When these bears were auctioned off during the 7th Steiff Festival held in Giengen, Germany in June 2003, the Korean Teddy Bear Museum made a successful bid of 80,000 EURS (100 million WON) for them.
Japanese Bear

Mr. Bean's Teddy Bear

After visiting the museum we walked back to the foot of the hill and where back at the station at around 18:00.

on the way back
(I couldn't resist and had just bought a "green tea bear":-) )

Seoul Tower
still on the way back:
gym equipment can be found everywhere....
Min brought me "home" and I was back at the YH at 19:00.
Then I had to pack and met Hailey at 20:00 in the lobby. She gave me some instructions (where and when to meet the next day, because we would fly to Jeju Island together, but she still had to work the next day) and I gave her my suitcase which she would store at her parents house. I only kept my backpack and with this I would fly to Jeju Island.
Hailey and I said goodbye, I ate dinner at 21:00 in the cafe affilitated to the YH (salad and green tea) and read til 23:00. Then I went to bed.

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