Post #19 – Let’s take a first look at a fascinating capital city – Seoul, in South Korea.  A city I fell in love with at first site.  I visited Seoul twice so far, and getting there is easy.  Leaving is hard.

Gyeongbokgung Palace
Main Entrance to Gyeongbokgung Palace

I am a world traveler at heart, and love exploring new places, but Seoul has made it hard for me.  The allure of this safe, humble and logic city is irresistible.  Returning there has become a must.  I can only count my acquaintances there with one or two hands, and although each year their number grows, I know that what attracts me there is the common sense of things.

Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate)
Sungnyemun Gate (Namdaemun Gate) near City Center, Seoul, Korea

Living in new places is adventurous.  I lived in 4 countries and staid in so many more, but my roads never took me blindly back to the same place until I met Seoul. I visited Lima many times because I love the food there.  I can’t get enough of Rome, Paris and London because I love museums, art and history.  I revisit German towns because of my family.  I reluctantly went back to my hometown in Romania, just so I can say goodbye to loved ones. I revisited Cairo three times because I am infatuated with Egyptology.  I could live in Venice if it would be less run over by tourists, and I was one of them many times.

Gardens of Gyeongbokgung Palace
Gardens of Gyeongbokgung Palace
Seoul, South Korea - city area near the Blue House
Seoul, South Korea – city area near the Blue House (Korea’s White House)

But no city has made me feel more comfortable, more at peace than Seoul. I stand out there, but I feel like I go unnoticed, like I blend into the background, in a world of my own.  Maybe it is because I don’t understand much of the language and can’t read the walls and signs either.  The lack of understanding makes me feel even more at peace.  I did not feel the same in Cairo or in Marrakech for that matter.

Nick Night Exhibit
Nick Night Photography Exhibit
Nick Night Exhibit
Seoul – Nick Night Exhibit
Dongdaemun Design Plaza - informal modeling during Seoul Fashion Week
Dongdaemun Design Plaza – informal modeling during Seoul Fashion Week
Dongdaemun Design Plaza at night, during Seoul Fashion Week
Dongdaemun Design Plaza at night, during Seoul Fashion Week
Seoul, South Korea - city view over Namdaemun Market and Seoul Tower
Seoul, South Korea – city view over Namdaemun Market and Seoul Tower

What exactly takes me back again and again to Seoul may well be a mystery to me forever. But while the level of comfort I feel there is so high, I will keep going.  A few small things that add to that comfort are: the silence – people rarely speak loud; the safety – you can leave your phone on the table and nobody will take it; the discipline – people don’t cross the street on red; the markets – you can shop without being harassed; the food – it is safe to eat and good wherever you go; the drinking – costs close to nothing; the sites – unbelievably inexpensive to visit historic sites; the parks – fresh, clean, fragrant; the subway – logical, efficient and clean; and then there is the entertainment: shows, festivals, cultural events … all available and accessible.  Not yet sure how it will be to be living there, but that is a subject for the next time.  In a few months I will know more.

Gyeongbokgung Palace Museum - Traditional Empress Costume
Gyeongbokgung Palace Museum – Traditional Empress Costume
Hanging out with friends Gangnam Seoul
Hanging out with friends Gangnam Seoul
Dongdaemun Design Plaza Seoul - hosting a TV K-pop program with the participation of CNBLUE and many other bands
Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul is hosting a TV K-pop program with the participation of CNBLUE and many other bands
Luxury Galleria Shopping Mall Seoul
Upscale Shopping at The Galleria Mall in Gangman
Deoksugung Palace evening view by full moon
Deoksugung Palace located in the heart of Seoul City Center, Joseon Dinasty from the mid 1400′
Gyeongbokgung Palace
Building on premises of Gyeongbokgung Palace

 

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Author

“A long and sinuous Silk Road unites all our cultures, a road full of colors, hardships, and hopes. If given the chance to travel this road over and over again, overlapping images would melt into a warm human fabric, full of labor, sweat and dreams. This fabric inspires my work. Its resilience is my hope for a common road into a harmonious future.” Ellie Perla

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for the opportunity to walk alongside of you as you explore the culture and lifestyle of South Korea! I have always found the Korean people I met to be charming with a great sense of humor. And, certainly, they are to be admired for their daily courage in living somewhere that has little in the way of “guaranteed well being.” Perhaps it’s a lesson for us all; no one really knows what tomorrow will bring; best to live fully for today.