Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Weekend Getawy to Korea

This year for the President's Day long weekend Jon and I got away to South Korea.  Our friends who we swapped with this summer watched our girls and they got spoiled for a few days while we got to hit almost all on our Korea bucketlist.   One of the great things about being on this side of the world is that a lot of people travel so we got hints from friends and we even have a few friends who are from Korea that gave us some pointers.  I think one of the things we were most excited about was the food but what I did not know is that Korea has a lot of American chains that I kinda miss.  When we travel without the kids we realized that we forgot to eat meals at the normal times and many times ate one big lunch at 3pm and one day it was ON THE BORDER!! 
Places we visited:
Korea War Memorial
Seoul Tower
DMZ/JAS - North Korea
hiking Mt Bugkasan
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Itaewon Market
Namdaemun Market
The hot tub at the Dragon Hill - walking 9 miles daily caught up
South Korea has great public transportation and used all forms of it.  We traveled back and forth all over Seoul using the subway and buses and got to see snow! 
DMZ/JAS was a very fascinating tour.  Seeing soldiers from two countries facing each other both ready to shoot if anyone tried to cross the border was interesting.  The solider giving our tour pointed out propaganda village where the north blasts out messages over their radio tour. We were allowed to enter the building that is exactly on the border and was built for meetings and family reunions but the family reunions haven't happened from what we were told.
Hiking - That was an interesting day!!  We followed our directions and rode the subway to our stop with a bunch of people dressed like they stepped out of a hiking magazine.  After this subway we made our way to the bus stop - again with people dressed in K2, Columbia, North Face, etc. and all with hiking poles and got on one of the 3 buses our map said we could use.  Once we got on the bus there was no longer English like most places that had a little English under the Korean so we looked a little lost I guess.  Francis a 72 year old retired businessman had mercy on us and asked if he could help us make sure we got where we wanted.  Once we explained we just wanted to get to the mountains and hike a little he invited us to hike with his group.  After we said yes he explained it was his college buddies and they were celebrating their 50th reunion from graduation this year.  I was a little nervous that I might not be able to keep up with these guys until one came limping up and then I knew I could hang with them.  We got put on the "a" team and hiked with them for 2 hours.  After that something got lost in translation b/c we thought we would be staying with them and they sent us a different way and said have a great trip.  We hiked for another hour and then headed down b/c I needed to hit the markets to get our souvenirs for the girls!
Started off with a bus ride - they believe in honking!

We even got to take Flat Stanley with us

On the way to the coffee can heart I might have said:
"Nothing says love like - Hey look Cold Stone!!"

Something crazy - Putting Locks everywhere to celebrate love

Why would you do this??

He loved the free dress up session - ok he endured it

Me in Korean Garb

He loved it

The Palace

See the mountain in the background - we hiked it

yep on the border!

War Memorial

Starting our hike with the 70 year old college crew


We brought the average age down by 20!

What - they left us?? There went our chance for finding a great restaurant for the day
Getting ready to step foot in the North

This should be fun

Jon in the south
Ashley in the north

Ashley in the North and Jon in the south


Local hole in the wall - Bulgoli!!!!!!

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