Day 2 was crammed full with seeing as much of Seoul as possible.  Our hotel was in the heart of Seoul.  Out of our window, we could see Gyeongbokgung Palace, skyscrapers, the Japanese embassy, and the U.S. embassy.  Insadong which is the main cultural market was just a short walk from our front door.  We had a city tour that started late morning, but we decided to get a start on things after breakfast.  So, we decided to just start walking.  Right off of the street, was this Buddhist temple.

The architectural detail was unbelievable.

In the short 5 minutes we were there, many people arrived to light a candle and bow in worship.  I had not witnessed this before, and it was so sad to me.  While I know Chritianity is alive and well in Korea, it was so sad to see so many worshiping a god that does not exist.

Next, we made our way to Insadong to knock out a bit of our shopping.

Our city tour was great!  Our guide was a college student who volunteers for Holt.  She was wonderful and so patient with us and our stupid questions.  We arrived at the palace just in time for the ceremonial changing of the guard.

The palace grounds used to hold over 400 palace structures.  However, most of them were destroyed by the Japanese many years ago.  Approximately, 46 have been rebuilt or restored.

The throne

This building was used for parties and entertaining.

Our palace tour ended with this view.  Our guide asked us if we wanted to see the blue house.  We all said sure but didn’t have a clue what the Blue House was.  We all finally asked her what we were looking at.  She smiled and said, “Americans have The White House.  We have the Blue House.”  This is the home of the Korean president.

We finished our day with a traditional Korean meal (the only time we ate Korean food our whole trip) and more shopping.  We were exhausted but so in love with our son’s birth culture.