Duo Sejong & Yi Sun-shin

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DAY 3

(Reading time: 5 minutes)

We are having another warm day here; Koreans are wearing sweaters, I’m in a tank top and Marek is dressed up like a proper beach boy.

After breakfast, we visited Star Avenue in Lotte World Mall. Yes, another K-pop attraction, this time in the form of an underpass.

On one side, there are projection screens with short advertising videos featuring idols…

…on the other side, interactive touch surfaces made from casts of idols’ handprints. If you place your hand on one of them, a short ad featuring the celebrity whose hand you chose will play next to you.

The main plan for the day was to visit the first royal palace, Gyeongbokgung, but what a bummer! Of all days, it was closed on Tuesdays. Moreover, they were setting up a stage for the Seoul Music Festival in front of it at Gwanghwamun Square. Oh well, we said to ourselves we’d come back here in a week and see what happens…

However, we walked through Gwanghwamun Square entirely. The main features of this place are the statues of two Korean historical giants – King Sejong the Great and Admiral Yi Sun-shin.

King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty is known primarily for his influence on Korea’s economic and cultural prosperity. He is considered the founder of Hangul, the Korean script, although he did not create it himself. Previously, literate people expressed themselves using Chinese characters, the learning of which was long and difficult. Sejong was troubled by the fact that not all of his people had a script that better corresponded to the Korean spoken word, so he assigned the task of creating a simple alphabetical system – “those circles and lines” – to his scholars (the royal research institute). Due to its simplicity, educated people initially refused to accept it, and it took four centuries before Hangul became the official script of administrative documents.

Admiral Yi Sun-shin (see the opening photo) is a war hero of the Joseon period – he saved Korea from Japanese invasion, despite having fewer ships, in poor condition, and overall less equipped army. In 23 historically documented battles he never lost. He also contributed to the special improvement of warships. The “turtle ships,” which won battles, were armored vessels with decks protected by iron armor, spikes and supplemented with holes on the sides for cannon fire.

Next, we headed to the top of Namsan and N Seoul Tower. We took the cable car, which I now consider a huge dumb laziness. 😄 We usually hike uphill, plus there wasn’t even any dramatic elevation gain here. Oh well, we just didn’t feel like it then.

On the way from the cable car to the tower, you pass by the beloved “Love Lock” – a section of railing adorned with inscribed padlocks, which loving couples have attached here in belief that their “locked” love will last forever. Similar heaps of locks can be found all over the world. Some piles of locks have already had to be removed because their weight caused unwanted imbalance or overloading of structures (especially in the case of bridges). Generally, they are considered more as litter or vandalism, but this place on Namsan is not illegal, so if you want to entrust your undying love to a piece of iron, go ahead.

The closed Gyeongbokgung Palace and the change of plans turned out to be a stroke of luck. There was a public performance with historical weapons on the square under the N Seoul Tower. On other days, we might have missed it.

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And the view from the tower itself is definitely one of the best in Seoul, if, like us, you seek beautiful panoramas. Even under the tower, it’s worth it, plus you can take photos with cute mascots.

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On the way down, we took a walk and stumbled upon these amazing Lotte Castle residences. A luxury apartment on the 30th floor, with a helipad on the roof, with a K-pop star as a neighbor, well, we’ll definitely consider that in the future. 😊

-endy-

DONKEY´S SPECIAL:

  • Even the heat won’t stop many Koreans from wearing warm hoodies or sweaters; exposing the skin to sunlight isn’t “in.”
  • Of the two of us, Andy is naturally the bigger K-pop fan, but I also have this genre in my playlist; as an example, I’ll mention “Arson” by J-Hope (a member of BTS)
  • For Yi Sun-shin, you can play in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition in the scenario “Noryang Point” (first released in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors as part of a campaign focused on historically significant battles)
  • I would be interested in the statistics of the success of “Love Lock” railing locked love, how many couples are still together, for how long, how many breakups and subsequent makeup nights have occurred, did anyone lock love multiple times, on which attempt did it work…?

-mj-

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