Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Seoul-searching Day 3: Cheonggyecheon and Gwanghwamun area

Following the main road from Deoksugung Palace is the Cheonggyecheon Plaza. There was a big sculpture of what seemed like a conch and in front of it was a pond where the water from the stream seemed to come from (or end in). This was actually a miniature replica of the Cheonggyecheon Stream.

This was actually a good pit stop for the family. We had some snacks while sitting by the fountains. There were several other people sitting with us while others were walking along the pathway. There were also children playing by the miniature stream and close to the fountains. There were 2 art installations which also served as protest fixtures (related to the recent fatal ferry incident).

We walked further down the road until we reached Gwanghwamun Plaza area then crossed to the middle island where all the happening was - the statues of Admiral Yi Sun-Shin and King Sejong the Great, and the fountain area where children (and even adults) were happily playing. It was summer time after all.

children having fun at the fountain area at Gwanghwamun Plaza
the busy highway leading to the Gyeongbokgung Palace
statue of King Sejong the Great with the Gyeongbokgung Palace in the background

Lance (my nephew/godson) looking over, tempted to join in the fun
There was actually a lot of resting places in this leg of our itinerary. Plenty of time to sit and just take in the happenings all around us. The kids would have joined the other children playing in the fountains if only they had spare clothes and towels. It made them feel a bit down cause they couldn't get wet running through the fountain so we had to offer them some other activity that interests them.

We wanted to see the palace grounds lighted up at night but it wasn't the time of the year yet. My sis-in-law has just been on a tour of the Palace a few weeks before our trip so she wasn't up for another one that soon. Since the kids were not big fans of palace tours, we opted to go to the Kyobo Bookstore just across the street. I accompanied the kids as they looked around for books and ogled at the Lego exhibit, while my in-laws checked out the shoe sale outside. Hubby decided to wait for us while resting at the mini park.

Kyobo Bookstore is the largest chain of bookstores in Korea so I expected the kids to go crazy in their hunt for good books, stationery or even toys. There was an exhibit of Lego creations which caught their attention for a while. There were also displays of nicely decorated fountain pens (which Kelvin was eyeing). Never ending shelves of books surrounded us. They followed each other around, checking books mostly in the kids and teens section. Unfortunately, they didn't have any luck in finding books that they were interested in (my boys compared the prices with those back home, too), so we all went out empty-handed but not unhappy about it. I think we just took it as time away from the hot sun outside. The kids were just happy to be with each other's company. 

If you're a book-lover, this place is a must, even just for the sake of visiting it. You can drop by after a tour of the palace in the afternoon or before venturing into the Cheonggyecheon Stream at night.

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