Our first major adventure in Seoul was a trip to the Gyeongbokgung Palace near Insadong station. Quite the magnificent spot I must say. Admission was 6,000 Won for the both of us (equivalent to about $6.60 CDN) and that got you access to the entirety of the grounds. From the mountain backdrop to the lush greenery and the vibrant architecture, it was really something.
My instinct here is to go on about the scenery, but seeing as you can look for yourself in the pictures, I’ll spare you the redundancy and attempt to provide some history on the landmark.
While I am not the history buff that is Johnny, I am with him 24/7 so I manage to pick up on a few historical tidbits here and there. SO a quick background:
Much of the palace and its surrounding buildings, which were built in 1395, were destroyed by fire during Japanese invasions in the 1500s. All of the palace buildings were subsequently restored during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919). It remains the largest of all of Seoul’s five palaces.
Cool cool cool good to know. Now you can impress people next time you’re on the topic of King Gojong or palace restoration.
Pro tip: wear walking shoes. The grounds are massive and you’ll spend a few hours exploring so comfort is key.
Pro tip #2: The palace is right next to the Insadong market which is on daily (but they close its streets on Sundays), near the Bukchon Hanok village, and just up the road from endless restaurants and shops. So when you’re done looking around you’ll gave a bunch of other fun options within walking distance.
Okay so when you’re walking for hours in the hot sun you’re bound to stir up a serious appetite, no?
Well let me tell you about something that can happen when you’re starving, walking around Seoul, and don’t know a lick of the Korean language.
You accidentally end up in an entrails restaurant.
Now I understand there are many people who enjoy entrails. The odd heart or intestine is a delicacy to many. I am not intending to disrespect those who enjoy these. However, my North American palette has not been so refined as to enjoy these dishes, so I left the restaurant just as hungry as when I walked in.
Looks nice, right? Here’s Johnny about to dig in. He ate almost all of the food which I was really impressed by, especially coming from the boy who doesn’t like grilled cheese or thanksgiving leftovers.
He was a trooper.
If you’re familiar with Rick and Morty’s concept of a plumbus, that is how I referred to the intestine (pictured above) throughout the entirety of our meal. It was especially nice to see it inflate as it cooked, pushing out the gooey bits from each end.
To be fair, I did try the heart and the stomach. It just wasn’t my thing.
But as all things are, it was a learning experience, and now Johnny can officially say he’s tasted a plumbus.