12 Months in South Korea

As we’re about to embark on our next adventure I thought it only fitting to summarise the last one. In the 12 months we were teaching in South Korea I took close to 3,000 photos, perhaps a little bit obsessive but when everyday is a new experience it’s hard not to document it. Here are my favourite ten.

Winter in South Korea is grim. Snow, frost, negative temperatures. The below picture was taken in February, when snow and frost blanket the ground and it gets dark around 5pm.

Winter sunset in Cheongju, SK
Winter sunset in Cheongju, SK

Whilst I’d regularly complain about the cold and my inability to walk on ice, I’d never complain about the snow. Always a novelty and always beautiful.

South Korean snow flowers
South Korean snow flowers

I’m not a big fan of Korean food. Most of it is much too spicy or salty for my liking but after a night on the town drinking soju and beer a 1,000 won (50p) burger with kimchi salsa is a pretty good hangover preventer!

South Korean St. Food
South Korean St. Food

For summer vacation we spent a week motorcycle touring around Jeju Island, the Hawaii of South Korea. Scattered throughout the island are Dol hareubangs, giant stone statues offering protection against demons traveling between realities. They’re also fertility symbols, so don’t get too close!

Dolhareubang or stone grandfathers
Dol hareubang or stone grandfathers

When we weren’t exploring our city we jumped on a bus and headed for other parts of the country – Seoul, BusanGyeongju,, Chungju, Daejeon. In Seoul, we shopped, ate Western food and explored some of the cities palaces. Gyeongbok Palace in northern Seoul is main (and largest) palace of the  Five Grand Palaces, built in 1395 by the Joseon Dynasty.

Gyeongbuk Palace, Seoul
Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul

Also at Gyeongbol Palace is Hyangwonjeong Pavilion or Pavilion of Far-Reaching Fragrance connected to the main grounds by Chwihyanggyo or Bridge Mesmerized with Fragrance.

Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, Gyeongbuk Palace, Seoul
Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, Gyeongbuk Palace, Seoul

Still in Seoul is Children’s Grand Park – a zoo, botanical garden, playground and amusement park all in one. It’s also one of the best places in the city to admire the amazing cherry blossoms.

Seoul Children's Park merry-go-round
Seoul Children’s Park merry-go-round

Busan reminds me so much of the Gold Coast in Australia it’s not funny – beaches, skyscrapers, promenades. It’s a great place for a long weekend, especially if you’re craving some beach and you live in the only landlocked province in South Korea. Doh!

Busan at night
Busan at night

The city of Gyeongju is one of the oldest parts of South Korea (57BC, kinda old) and as such it’s often described as a museum without walls.

Anapji Pond Pavillion, Gyeongju
Anapji Pond Pavillion, Gyeongju

Thanks for the memories Korea!

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