- because we were constantly on the move. I think we only stayed in our hotel room long enough to sleep and, once, to recover from heat exhaustion. And even so, a week was seriously not enough time. We managed to see most of the bigger attractions, like the Seoul National Museum and one of the larger palaces, but we missed out on Seoul's thriving independent music and art scenes. My sister and I had a lot of things we wanted to do - see a few punk shows in Hongdae, visit the DMZ, check out the dozens of independent art galleries in Samcheongdong - that we didn't have enough time for. Next summer we'll probably stay for closer to a month, and arrive in June so we can catch the annual Queer Culture Festival and avoid the worst of the summer heat.
So in lieu of real-time accounts I'll just post a few retrospective pictures. I took over 4,000 (I know, it's ridiculous, but in my defense a lot of them were "crap, why can't I steady my hands" repeat shots) so I'll try to spare you the bulk and just post a few over the next few weeks.
A sampling of the wares available in Insadong, the neighborhood closest to our hotel. Insadong used to be the main road leading out of the royal palace (which was less a single building and more a city within a city, designed to house not only the royal family but their courtiers, officers, civil workers, and attendants) and is now known for being a bit of a tourist-oriented neighborhood. There is a high density of traditional wares and restaurants, and an even mix of locals and foreigners shop for things like traditional brassware antiques, ceramics, handmade paper products, and the usual tourist trinkets. All of our younger relatives said there wasn't much to see there but I actually kind of liked it.