Seoul, Korea – November 2018April 10, 2019 2:54 am
Tuesday November 20
A little airport trivia for you! Osaka’s Kansai International Airport is located on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay. In 2001, the airport was one of ten structures given the “Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium” award. Terminal 1 is the longest airport terminal in the world with a length of 1.7 km! We flew into Seoul’s smaller Gimpo Airport as it is more centrally located in this vast city.
Our hotel was super cool and they upgraded us to a sweet suite. There was a washer and dryer plus a personal dry cleaning unit! We could have lived in there!
So today was interesting here…in the morning we started noticing bus loads of police arriving, a couple at first then 10 or more buses. They had constructed a stage just below our hotel window and had been testing the sound system for a few days. We thought it was going to be a concert! We asked at the desk what was going on and they said it was a protest, for what, they didn’t know but they were expecting 30k people by 3pm. That was a little worrisome since we are a block from the National Assembly Building and we are in Seoul after all …so we decided to go out until 2:30 and play it safe and watch from our window. As the morning progressed there were 100’s of those police buses and cops started appearing everywhere in groups, waiting with their shields.
By the time we got back at 2:30, the streets were thick with people. We watched, fascinated, from the window at what was a peaceful protest. Occasionally cheering at the speakers speeches, but overall quiet. So interesting to watch the police snake about the perimeter.
Here is what it was all about:
The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions has called for a nationwide general strike to take place November 21 to protest the government’s labor policies in relation to working hours viewed as being unfair to workers. The union indicated that some 20,000 people were expected to take part. Gatherings can be expected in the capital Seoul outside the National Assembly at 15:00. Associated traffic disruptions, along with an increased security presence, are expected.
Apparently protests are very common here and occur almost DAILY.
When the protesters had disbanded, we made our way down the street to a Korean BBQ restaurant the hotel had recommended. It was very interesting and delicious! As first time BBQ’s, we wished we had watched a YouTube on ‘How to Enjoy Korean BBQ‘. But we did not, so we just watched the young couple beside us and we did not go hungry. It was very good! People were putting their jackets in plastic bags though, as the smoke is thick and you smell like a campfire after.
We took a full-day tour today to experience ‘the best of Seoul’.
Our guide took us to one of the most famous hanbok shops in Seoul, where we were dressed in typical Korean dress. It was pretty cool to see all the colourful dresses and accessories in the shop!
Once everyone was dressed, we walked to Gwanghwamun Gate.
Here we toured Gyeongbok Palace, the former residence of Joseon Dynasty royalty and watched the changing of the guard.
We stopped at Jogyesa Palace and saw its’ many lanterns.
We had a great panoramic view of the city at one of the highest points in Seoul, Bugak Skyway atop Bugak Mountain.
We finished our city tour in Myeongdong, a popular shopping street.
We woke up to snow this morning but it melted quickly. Jordan flew over us last night on his way back from Thailand and Victor and Duncan from my office will be in the skies today on their way to China. Friendly skies!
Today we enjoyed a self-guided walking tour.
We walked by the LG headquarters, makers of this Dry Cleaning machine in our hotel room. Guess the hotel is supporting by ‘buying local’.
We also saw so many Hyundai buildings (huge!!) and lots of Kia’s. Most cars are black with tinted windows.
No city visit would be complete without us venturing up to the tallest observation deck and being astounded by the size of the city. Seoul is unbelievable!
Our own neighbourhood park was beautiful and we really enjoyed it.
The shopping area in the business district provided great people watching as office workers swarmed the area at lunchtime. The food was incredible – not your regular food court.
We found Seoul to be a vibrant city and the people were very friendly. We enjoyed our stay. Today we fly home!
Incheon International Airport is of the largest and busiest airports in the world. It is on an artificially created piece of land between two Islands. Since 2005, it has been rated the best airport worldwide every year. It is also rated as the world’s cleanest airport and claims that it has only a 0.0001% baggage mishandling. The airport has a golf course, spa, private sleeping rooms, an ice skating rink, a casino, indoor gardens plus a Museum of Korean Culture. We were there super early but did not see any of these features. Sure have made a mental note to do more exploring at airports.
Checked out the bakery goods close up. It was November and they had Santa cakes already! That airport sounds like a vacation resort! Once again lots of knowledge and beautiful pictures!