Postcards from South Korea

South Korea

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,

2020 Photo Challenge #48

Monday Window

74 thoughts on “Postcards from South Korea

  1. Wonderful tour, Margaret. I remember in past years, small shops in Greek towns specialised in one or two items. In order to get everything on your shopping list, you had to visit numerous places. Spam is still popular here – courtesy of the US.


  2. What a wonderful virtual trip to a country I haven’t been to, nor am I likely to. The OH went to a conference in Seoul, but I was teaching then and couldn’t accompany him. Yet another reason I gave up teaching, his conferences never coincided with school holidays. These images work well in black and white. And dare I confess that I actually liked battered spam as a child?

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      1. I had a friend whose mum had constructed a special pocket in her school uniform so she could smuggle out unwanted dinner. The most prized places in the dinner hall were by the window above the gym – so you could lob your dinner out. How we all suffered!

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      2. And how thin we all were! I never ate breakfast, hated school milk, loathed most of the school dinners and had bread and jam for tea, with a banana if I was lucky. Salad and cake at the weekend! I have made up for it since. Too well!

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    1. It has Tracy. Everyone was so hospitable, and it never got horribly submerged in tourists (like us). Mind you, post Covid who knows what the world of tourism will look like?

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  3. Wonderful trip, neat, informative photos. But, I do have some quibbles. First, it is Spam, capitalized. It is a marvelous and tasty product. Some might not like it, but what would an emergency stock of food be like without it? Second, and more relevant. Your photos suffered in the conversion process and are way too dark. Ask me for help if you need a bit of assistance. Oh, and thank you for taking us along on this journey!

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    1. You’re right Ludwig, they are too dark, and I would welcome help. I used the facilities available to me on my computer, and I know they’re inadequate. Though I have serious reservations about asking for help from a Spam lover ;). You clearly never had an English school dinner.

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      1. Not sure what an English school dinner is. I attended an English school for but a few days. That was back in Austria in 1946 and they tried hard to feed us when food stuff was hard to find. Those days of want might have imprinted on my my appreciation of Spam.
        I have done quite a bit of teaching in my 70 years of photography experience. Please get in touch with me via

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  4. It really is a fascinating country and your daughter is fortunate to be working there. My son adores South Korea and has visited the country, including Busan, a number of times. There is so much to see there and he tells me the food is delicious. Thanks for this peek into that world.

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    1. She was just there for a year, but had a wonderful time . She got quite good at the language, and in reading and writing hangul, which defeated me. Oh yes, the food is wonderful.

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  5. You get the absolute best tours when you visit family or friends who live locally. Hopefully with widespread vaccinations next year you’ll be off on your visits again. Has Ludwig discussed B&W digital versus B&W film?

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