Sara in Seoul

As I have once again fallen behind in editing photos I figured I would take a break and let Sara guest blog about her first day in Seoul. After a fairly easy direct flight over from San Francisco on Saturday, and no mishaps with the plane disappearing into thin air (too soon?), I made it to Alex and Caitlin’s place.  After sleeping off the worst of the jet lag, Alex and I headed to the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the center of Seoul.  We missed the rush hour traffic on the subway and headed into the city via the underground.  When we came back up to the surface, we entered the first of many of palace courtyards that belonged to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, also known as the Grand Palace.

This palace was the main and largest of the five grand palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty in 1395.  It had been destroyed multiple times, the last by Japan.  The one that we visited has been rebuilt to resemble the original.  It has the tile roofs in traditional Korea architecture form, and colorful detailed painting on the inside of the roofs.

Alex and I wandered around the different courtyards and palaces, which work from outside in to higher status/more elite and important uses of the rooms.  Alex gave me a mini-tutorial on his Canon DSLR on how to use the aperture to adjust where the field of focus is in photographs. You can see below some of my attempts at getting different levels of focus on Alex and the palaces in the background, as well as the key lock on the door.

From the palace we headed out the front gate to a small neighborhood that sits up on a hill to the right and has cute shops, streets, and homes to look at. While heading out the front gate we had great timing and managed to catch the traditional changing of the guard ceremony.  Guards dressed in traditional Korean outfits changed shifts with each other.

In the neighborhood that we headed to next, we had a traditional Korean lunch at a restaurant.  We sat and were served on the floor, and ordered a dumpling soup and bip bim bap, a claypot rice, vegetable, meat, and egg dish.  The food was great, as well as all of the little side dishes they serve with the food.  Afterwards we wandered around taking in the views overlooking the palace and looked at little ceramics and design shops.  By the end of the day I was pretty wiped.  We headed back to Caitlin and Alex’s apartment where I got to try one of Alex’s chocolate and chile beers that I had been hearing about and am now a number one wholesale supplier for apparently. It was good and did not disappoint. For dinner we grabbed chinese food at the local chinese restaurant Alex and Caitlin like, since the owners are from Shanghai and cook an awesome eggplant dish. Anddddd …. then I went to bed.

Royal Banquet Hall
Traditional Drum in the front courtyard of the Grand Palace
Painted rooftops on the Grand Palace
Alex showing me how to use aperture size on his camera in front of the inner palace
Cool door with ancient Korean style lock
Close-up of old style Korean lock
On the emperor’s path up to the palace
Alex demonstrating how to bokeh a photograph
Alex doing a better job at bokeh than me
Mix of cloudy and sun throughout the day
Locked shutters
SaaAAooOoOoo tall
Me attempting bokeh on the photograph
Neighborhood door
Changing of the Guard
Seoul Tower in the Distance
Cool wall in the Bukchon Neighborhood
Great rooftops shot by Alex
How many people do you think sit on these people’s front steps every day?
Crepuscular rays over the Grand Palace
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