i walk and walk and walk

Today was a day of walking. And walking. And walking.

Went north from the hotel, 20, 25 minutes to Insa-dong. On sundays it’s closed to traffic and stalls are set up, mainly antiques and bric-a-brac. lots of people but not yet at the very crowded stage. Browsed around, looking at the antiques, toys, jewelry, food.

Almost decided to have lunch at a safe place — on the main strip, English menu available, touristy looking. But decided against it. Went in one of the narrow side alleys and to a local looking place, small with low tables on a tatami. Asked the lady waitress to order for me, she knew a little English, I think she ordered the “full course” for me, then again she could have said fish course.

When it arrived, there were like 10 or so small dishes, different types of kimchi, non-spicy vegetables, steamed egg, pickles, grilled fish, rice, soup. Cold tea on the house. Nice. Very nice.

Walked on through some local side streets to the Changdeokgung Palace, which charged W2,300 admission, and the last English tour had finished. Entrance with a tour only, I had the choice of Korean or Japanese tour. I chose not to go. Walked to the Royal Shrine, looking at the map it seemed there was an entrance on the Palace side, except it wasn’t. So I had to virtually walk around the whole shrine enclosure to get to the entrance proper.

More empty but nice looking buildings. There was a footbridge to the Changgyeongung Palace (right next door to the other one). By that time I was pretty tired so I just did a short circle and headed out. Wished I knew more Korean to be able to take a bus. Didn’t want to take a taxi so walked back toward Insa-dong. Got a subway at the end, 2 stops to City Hall.

Dinner was ginseng chicken soup, with a whole chicken stuffed with rice and ginseng roots. The restaurant actually only had 2 items on the menu, the chicken in soup, or whole roast chicken. A real specialist place.

Thought about another 32cm ice cream but decided against it. Bought a local rice wine, a bit like mild sake, I think it’s better than ice cream.