These days its difficult to travel, especially internationally, and even if the travel bans were lifted, I’m guessing many would still be skeptical of traveling to Asia still, for fear of the corona virus. BUT, just because we can’t go there physically, doesn’t mean we can travel together virtually, so this week I wanted to kick off a series from my travels to Asia last December. If nothing else, perhaps it will be a brief distraction from your now, VERY familiar surroundings. 🙂
This week we start off in Seoul, Korea, in the Bukchon Hanok Village. Hanok are traditional Korean houses, many of which date back 600 years! There are a number of neighborhoods (still referred to locally as villages) like what you see pictured above, and because of their history and character, are a top tourist destination. Now, if you know me, “top tourist destination” tends to make me cringe, but frankly, people typically want to see these sites for a reason – they’re usually really interesting! The hanoks are arranged very tightly together, with very narrow alleys and streets winding their way through the neighborhoods. For me, they were very reminiscent of the hutongs in Beijing. Like the siheyuan (Chinese traditional houses) in Beijing, the hanok houses are now outrageously priced, however unlike the houses found in China, as many as 30%+ of the hanok are currently owned or occupied by foreigners! It seems expats are just as drawn to the character and beauty of these traditional houses as are the locals.
Well, like any popular tourist destination, the streets around the hanok get really crowded with selfie takers and visitors just having a look. Getting a shot with no people in it was all but impossible. However, as the light began to fade, so did the large groups of people, and before I knew it, I had the whole place to myself. It frankly suited me just fine anyway, as I really liked the warm glow that the entry lights cast on the brick walls and the street.
More next week!
|South Korea, Seoul, Jongno-gu, Gahoe-dong, 계동길 37|