Senior Project - Beyond Pacific
Day 14 in Seoul
Today, we went on more of a cultural journey. Late this morning, we rented hanboks, traditional Korean clothing, for the afternoon. Compared to the kimono that we wore in Kyoto, the hanboks that we wore today were much easier on the waist and made the experience more comfortable. Hanboks usually feature vibrant colors and simple patterns. However, many hanboks today have adopted outside influences and thus would not have existed back in the days.
(Me and Kayla wearing hanboks)
We sported our hanbok to Gyeongbokgung, the primary royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. The palace was built in 1395 and was the home of many kings. Government functions were housed there as well. After having been burned down and destroyed, the palace was rebuilt to today’s form. In my experiences, Korean and Chinese palaces are more similar than Japanese ones. While many Japanese castles are tall, Korean and Chinese palaces have fewer levels and take more land horizontally. In addition, Korean and Chinese palaces love to show off the color red.
After touring Gyeongbokgung, we visited Namsangol Hanok Village, taking a walk through history and viewing traditional Korean houses, pavilions, gardens, etc. There is a sense of tranquility through taking strolls in the past in our traditional hanbok.
We had to return our hanbok at 4:30 (and we barely made it). After returning to our modern clothes, we walked through Insa-dong, with streets and alleys of food and tea shops, art galleries, and more. It harbors both a cultural and modern environment, and it sure is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
For dinner, we ate Gopchang, or small intestines of cattle (or sometimes pig), served in hot pot style. The intestines are well cleaned, marinated, seasoned, and cooked before consuming. Supposedly, gopchang was a nutritious and inexpensive dish for the common people back in the days. It was my first experience with gopchang, and it was sure tasty! I would definitely recommend it those who enjoy a little bit of food adventure!
In the evening, we headed to Hanyang University to attend their college festival and experience a Korean university’s social culture. This once-in-a-year event was the soul of every student’s university experience. Since students hardly have the opportunity to have this much fun other times during the year, this festival gives students a chance to cherish their youth. The festival included an intense singing competition among the students (judged by the teachers and peers), small performances, and multiple booths hosted by students in each individual major. Loud music was blasting on stereo speakers every couple steps. Everyone was having a blast.
(Singing competition at Hanyang University college festival)
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