Today I’ve decided on a virtual visit to South Korea, a country we visited four years ago when our daughter was working there. I’m not – on the whole – going to take you to national monuments this week. We could go on the metro – there’s a station in the featured photo, just as clean, high-tech and efficient as you probably expected. Some metro stations are so extensive that you have to catch a train from one platform to the next when you need to change lines.
Let’s walk the streets of Seoul, where the very first thing that will strike you is the astonishing tangled knitting that is the overhead electrical wiring. We could visit the market area. Whole streets are devoted to the sale of just one product – rubber bands say (yes, really!), electrical wiring, cardboard packaging … or even spam. Since the Korean War, Americans – and spam – have enjoyed an enviable reputation. In a country where western tourists are still not all that common, we often profited from being thought of as American. In among all these workaday offerings are spacious and elegant jewellery shops – whole department stores devoted to nothing but that. We popped into one – and popped right out again.
Towards lunchtime, we could peer into tiny kitchens, and watch meals being prepared, packed up, and stacked onto trays. They’ll be delivered to workers in shops and offices on bikes, or on the heads of purposeful delivery women, who’ll later collect the empties.
But let’s glimpse through a window from in one palace, at least: Seoul’s Changdeokgung Palace. You can read a short account of the troubled history of South Korea’s cultural heritage here
And now let’s travel south to South Korea’s second city, Busan: a coastal city and port, and Emily’s home for that year. It has one of the biggest fish markets in the world, Jagalchi Fish Market. You’ll rarely see anywhere so many fish gathered together in one place – I posted about them here.
I’ve a feeling I may have an occasional South Korean season coming on, and maybe next time in glorious technicolour. Thanks to Sarah at Travel with Me for putting the idea into my head, and to Jude, whose photo challenge this week constrains us to think of the urban environment. Country Mouse hasn’t been to town for weeks,