Kings, Queens and Concubines

Seoul (South Korea) – 28 km (bike is swimming)
05 May 2016

My final day in Seoul would be a long one. I was unaware that the coming weekend was an extra-long one for Koreans: Teachers’ Day, Children’s’ Day and somehow wrangled in such a fashion that Koreans could enjoy 4 days off, starting Thursday.

I also learnt that is this case twice a year and everybody leaves town. Many go seaside and sea-side IS Busan, the town I needed to go to as well. As a result is was almost impossible to book a ticket for the train. The Korea-equivalent of Tom, Dick & Harry already had their tix booked. In the end I was lucky to get a seat on the 22.20 train arriving at the un-godly hour of 3.40am in Busan, but I am getting ahead of myself.

So, one more day to spend in Seoul, a Palace close by, an obvious choice: go and see it. Seoul has several palaces, and I went to the supposedly best one: the Changdeokgung Palace. Once again, as my friend Rainer M advised me to do, please google the details here should you be interested.

I got in for free 😉   Well, everybody wearing a national costume gets in for free, or if one is above 65 years old – I didn’t have a costume … I also got in relatively early and was able to do some shot without people in it, unthinkable. Do here some photos for your entertainment.

IMG_2469

Donhwamun Gate 1412, the main- & largest of all palace gates, burned down during Japanese invasion, restored 1608

The Koreans had their kings, queens and concubines just as we had in our history. They just called’em something else, dynasty and moreover almost all are remembered fondly only, nothing bad to be said about anyone. On top of this some are lauded as great do-gooders and poets. Well, one wonders who writes history. All of them build palaces, had strict rules and almost god-like status. and when one’s wife couldn’t produce off-spring a concubine was housed, fed & I guess fucked (sorry for the crude language, but the feudal system does something to my temperament).

Rant over, please, if you still can, enjoy the photos

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just a beautiful looking flower – anybody??

The remainder of the afternoon was spent with a nice coffee sitting outside, talking to an older Englishman and then schlepping my bags to the mail railway station – no fun. The fingerprint-operated luggage storage system gave me freedom to explore all three levels of this station – ask me – I am now an expert on Seoul’s Hauptbahnhof.  A repeat performance in Busan’s main railway station was not fun but necessary to await daylight.

Finally, in both, Seoul and Busan are a fair few homeless people overnighting in inside the station. Police appears to be ok with it and I guess they are pleased to have shelter. No idea how they can survive Korea’s winters …

I am just realising, that this was an up-lifting blog contribution, wasn’t it…  Trust it is no reflection on my mood, but this day was tiring and looooong

6 thoughts on “Kings, Queens and Concubines

  1. Hi Axel. Nady and I are really enjoying your travelogue and personal observations. Looking forward to many more over the coming months. Travel safe.

    • you are quite right, but there is a limit of what I can load and/or keep in mind 😉 I am almost certain this will happen again, but I just roll with it. Have marked Ramadan in my calendar though..
      Happy Mothers’ Day afterwards – trust the organisation worked out

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