Friday, July 28, 2006

My trip to Seoul

A collage from my trip to Seoul. you can see the tickets of the places I went to and I got the graphic novels (lets be honest they're comics) from an English shop I found. It's great having something to read in English.

Namsan (Seoul)

What you see here is the Namsan district of Seoul. Well actually what you can see is most of Seoul pictured from the Namsan hills
I quite enjoyed my beer in the sky. This is towards the top of the hill just before you get to Namsan tower. You can walk or catch a cable car up this high.
Enjoy the view from the hills.

I should realise not to take a photo at night, without a flash, on a moving cable car but I like this picture from the route back down.
And this is taken from the top of the tower. There is only one other tower in the world higher above sea level and that is in Canada (though this one does cheat by starting half way up a mountain)

I took this to prove to everyone it was really me up there. It's shaky because I am not very good with heights. In fact i don't know why I was up there!
This is the kind of distance I prefer to see the edge from.
Thats right I went up there. Either that or the fancy hat souvenirs are quite tall.
Yes that thing in the distance. I went up and stayed for at least 10 mins (and about another hour with my feet on solid mountain ground)

Olympic park

This is the Olympic park which was designed for use in 1988.

It is absolutely massive. About the size of a small town and takes a long time to walk around.
It is built on the site where the oldest Koreans settled and it is still a popular walking area now. You can clearly see the bridge and still alight Olympic flame

as well as other sites from the games such as swimming pools and gymnasia. Around the village is a lot of art and sculpture designed to show off Korea's heritage

but there is also a lot of historical monuments, such as a prehistoric building and some ancient defences

The archways and stadia are all still used today and run by the university as part of it's physical education.

The museum is expensive but has a complete history of the games, opinions, greek mythology, de coubertin, and many interactive and visual things to play with.

Seodaemun prison (Seoul)

There aren't many photo's actually in the prison grounds as it is strictly forbidden but I was brave (stupid) enough to attempt this one while already inside a prison hmmm......
The prison was used by the Japanese during their reign here and was effectively a deterrent against any kind of uprising. There were more than 20 of these prisons across Korea and they were torture houses, interrogation rooms (spoken in Japanese, with no defence attorney all Koreans were assumed guilty if charged) and burial grounds. The history is sickening and worse than I have ever heard in any western circumstances (even Prague) . What you can see in the above photo is from the outside of the wall and basically where Koreans were buried alive.
Most of the prison no longer exists and the grounds have been turned into a commerative park. What is at the prison museum is a real life experience where you can stand in the cells just big enough to fit in with no movement, see the electric chair, the hanging room, torture rooms, the court, tunnels where the dead were hidden, and there is a history of major figures in the Korean uprising against Japanese rule.
There are many statues, gates and plaques to honour those who fought for the freedom of Korea and were punished so horrifically. You can enlarge the photo below to read it. It is referring to the photo above.

I'll get my head out of the way for the same picture. I can't really describe to you how moving this is but I will say how proud the Koreans are of everyone who fought for their freedom.

Insadong (Seoul)

Insadong is a section of Seoulthat is very popular with tourists. It has many small temples that look particulary impressive when lit up at night...
... and it has many massive buildings that dwarf you but it is mainly popular for...
...the markets. The streets are lively and bustling and most shops and stalls stay open til way after 10pm....
... I'm starting to like the unfocused camera effect. I got a hotel in Insadong simply and cheaply by just walking in without a reservation and it only cost about 18 pounds a night....
... the problem with tiny cheap hotels though is the noise of the other patrons. I don't like to think myself a prude but it was definately pillow sandwich time. you of course can go out and enjoy street performers...
... do a bit more shopping....
... or just look at the various sites and arts. It is definately a place to see at least once.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

World cup museum

This must have been the newest part of the museum as it recognised Korea's spirit and success in the recent world cup in germany. Thinking back to the games I think they should be proud.
It is a truly interactive experience (it is Korea afterall). This is a game of goalkeeping which as you can see (by the red balls) is difficult to do with a camera, there is also a game of shadow football (a bit like air hockey but you use your shadow to move the puck) and many other games.
Ah I recognise this trophy. Luckily this was awarded before the Brazilians misplaced (ahem) the proper one. Speaking generally around '66 one of the suprising things is that in Korea in '66 won their first world cup points and in 2002 the slogan was "Again '66". This time around it was of course "Again '02"

I feel that my earlier goalkeeping display earned one of these but they wouldnt award it.
a scale model of the stadium and surrounding area. it was built purposefully for 2002 and included a subway station.
How much would one of those for England v Argentina cost. Heck, we only won one other match and I'd be happy with a ticket for the Denmark game.
Group F reminder. I remember it well. It was interesting to read about other another countries opinion about certain Mr Beckham sweeping a penalty past some Argentinian.

I'm not really sure what this is but apparently there is only a handful of Brazilians, Italians, French, Argentinians and Germans that do.
Ok this is a bad picture but if you blow it up and look closely at the handsome fella on the left you may be suprised.