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June 24th 2009
Published: June 24th 2009
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It’s quite strange to have family around 24/7 for two weeks and then suddenly wake up on a Saturday and they have gone home, now how to occupy yourself. After missing it on our Seoul city bus tour I decided that Gyeonbokgung deserved a visit the lazy Saturday. It turned out that I got even more than I bargained for and my fairly average Saturday turned into a really lovely Korean experience. I arrived at the entrance to the palace just in time for the changing of the guards which is an event I have wanted to see. Again as Murphy’s Law would have it my camera battery died on me so my photos are fairly average and don’t do the event justice but watching the changing of the guards in Korea is most certainly more intriguing and captivating than the regimental changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. The guards are so ornately dressed in some of the most interesting traditional garb and that coupled with their amazing Samurai warrior-type faces made it stunning to watch.

What’s also cool is that you can walk in amongst the guards and take pictures, how on earth the guards manage to stay so focused while the public weave in and out of them for a Kodak moment is a mean feat! Its surly got to be very unnerving having a westerner shoving a camera in your face for an up close and personal shot while you are trying to stand still and look unmoved and composed, they really do a fantastic job!

After the changing of the guards I somehow managed to walk strait into the beginning of a traditional banquet performance, again another very worthwhile experience and even more so because I hadn’t been expecting it.

The Grounds around Gyeongbokgung are just epic, they stretch for archers and the grounds are and traditional buildings and so well tended. The changing of the guards and the banquet performance were all a real treat but I think nothing beats the beauty of the two pagodas that are set in the middle of two separate but equally stunning ponds. It’s such a peaceful and tranquil place and is the best way to spend a sunny and chilled Saturday afternoon.

Seems I’m slowly making my way around Seoul’s many palaces and temples and what’s best is that I clearly started my palace and temple visits at the more low key sights cause of late each time I visit a temple and palace it manages to surpass my expectations which is always a great thing!

Additional photos below
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Banquet performanceBanquet performance
Banquet performance

The king being brought to the banquet

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