Sunday, August 21, 2011

buzzKOREA's Bukchon Hanok Village Tour

Bukchon Hanok Village - recommended Seoul dating course
 The second half of our tour of Seoul was of the Bukchon Hanok Village.  It is surrounded by royal palaces and originally was the home to family members of the royal family and high ranking officials.  The Korean hanok is a traditional Korean home and in this one place you can see hundreds of them that have been preserved.  Over the years, they have been updated to include plumbing and electricity along with conventional heating and air-conditioning depending on the owners.  But the outside of the homes have remained true to their roots.  It is a magical place full of beauty.
 Our Korean guide was a hoot.  The first place she took us to was Choongang High School which is famouse for being in the smash hit Korean drama "Winter Sonata." She didn't know why anyone would want to see it and she said it was especially popular with Japanese tourist who were wild from the drama.  This store was on the right side of the entrance to the high school.
 This is the famous scene from the drama.  If you have never seen "Winter Sonata"  I highly recommend it.  It was wonderful.
 It stars Bae Jong Joon who is still very popular today especially in Japan.  He is the largest poster in the picture.  I called him "scarf guy" because in the drama, he was wrapped in a scarf a lot in the movie.
Across the street was a competitor with the same type of posters.
The high school was located in a more commercial area.
I love this about Korea.  If you need a broom, you go to a broom shop and that's all you will find in the shop.
 This was the display in a window and I wasn't sure if it was art or renovation.  Looking at the picture, I still am not sure.
 I found a cute shop selling crafts but there wasn't time to shop.  I'll have to return again soon to really check it out.
                                                    We found art in random places.

We were able to go inside a hanok and explore.  Photos were not allowed on the inside but we could take them on the outside.  This hanok is called "Chung Won San Bang."  The website has photos so you could see what we got to see.  It displayed works by Sim Yong-Sik, an intangible asset, and showcased his talent.  Here you will find a better description of this master carpenter.  It is also his actual home so I was amazed he allowed visitors.
 This is his garden which can be viewed from a framed window to look like an actual picture.
 His woodworking skills were amazing and I would have loved to see him work. 

 There is the window frame I was talking about earlier.  The house construction was so innovative and made my U.S. house seem like a waste of space in a lot of rooms.  Rooms had doors that would slide to make larger or smaller rooms depending on what was needed so there wasn't wasted space. 
                                           As we walked, we saw this artwork on the walls.
                                                  Our guide said it was for an elementary school.
                                                    Here is the entrance to the school.
                          I saw these statues as we were walking to more of the hanok village.
                                  Even the alleys were different than anything I had ever seen.
                                       This is a photo from the top of the village looking down.

 You would see these throughout the village, letting you know that this was a great place to take a photo.
                                       So, of course, we had to take advantage of it.

 This corner is especially famous and has been used in lots of dramas.  I can see why dramas would like to film here.  It really is magical and takes you back to a time long ago.
 Here is our guide posing for a picture.  She is a resident of the hanok village and volunteers once a week to take groups through the village.  She was really knowledgable plus had a wicked sense of humor.
 This was one of the staff from buzz KOREA.  You can see that we didn't let the rain (which never stopped the entire day) stop us from having the time of our lives.
As we made our way back to the bus, we passed this shop and I have no idea what they were selling but it sure made you stop and stare.  Update:  someone sent me this link that explains it all.  Thank you Deb!
 Our bus was parked by a government building and the guide took us to the side of the building to show us this white pine tree that was 300 hundred years old.  She said that during the Japanese occupation, the tree ceased to grow until Korea became free again.
 We were surprised to be given gift bags which included a wonderful book on Korea, keychains and a business card holder.
 We also were given passports in the morning which we added pictures to during the entire day.  The pictures were taken by the staff at buzzKOREA.
 They used a Fuji Polaroid camera so we got the photos immediately after they were taken and we added then to our passports.

                                             Here are some of the pictures they took of me.
If you want to check the pictures taken by the staff at buzzKOREA, you can see them here.  Our tour starts on page 21 - 44.

Rocketman and I enjoyed ourselves so much.  We felt like celebrities the way we were treated by the staff of buzzKOREA.  Rocketman said that whatever I did to get invited to this outing to keep doing it. We left Seoul very wet and tired but also very happy.  It was a wonderful day and we met some wonderful fellow bloggers.  Thank you buzzKOREA.  If you want to be on top of what is happening in Korea, check out their website: buzzKOREA.

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