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

One Misty Moisty Morning …

North Yorkshire, Walking, Weather

… yesterday in fact, I woke up to this.

It’s the same window I showed you last Monday, but now November mist has descended. I went downstairs. This.

It wasn’t raining. It wasn’t particularly cold. What’s one of the Commandments of Lockdown? ‘Thou shalt exercise daily’. So I did. I took my camera, and explored the local lanes: familiar sights blotted out, as others loomed out from the general obscurity. At just 11 o’clock, I stopped, just for a while: it was Remembrance Day. I heard what a rarely notice as I walk – the constant undertow of birds murmuring and chittering on more distant shrubs and trees. It reminded me of John Lewis-Stempel’s book – Where Poppies Blow. This wonderful account examines the restorative role of nature to those soldiers confined to the trenches in the First World War. For just a fleeting instant, this was a moment I could share with them. Except I came home to a glowing wood-burning stove and a hot cup of coffee.

Varied Viewpoints on a Murky Monday

Barcelona, Blogging challenges

I’ve woken up feeling unaccountably gloomy this morning.  Is it the fine but insistent rain?  Is it the spike in Covid figures that seems to presage what this winter may be like?  I don’t know, but Positivity seem to be called for, and a Virtual Day Out in the Sun.

Let’s go to the seafront in Barcelona, and have a look at a  very up-beat window with varied viewpoints.

 

Monday Window

A Window into the Past

Blogging challenges, National Trust, North Yorkshire, Ripon

I’m back volunteering at Fountains Abbey, and every time I’m there, I’ll spend time in the ruined Abbey itself.  I’ll gaze up at the voids which were once windows.  Any stone tracery has long disappeared, revealing views of the sky and trees beyond.  And I wonder what the monks saw, during their long hours of worship – eight sessions a day, the first at 2.00 a.m., when the night was charcoal-black and only smoky tallow candles lit the space?  The ascetic Cistercians had no statuary in their churches, little stained glass, so the monks probably glimpsed a barely-to-be-discerned landscape beyond, through water-greenish, slightly uneven glass.

In her challenge this week, Jude has invited us to compare the same scene in colour, and in black and white.  I thought it would be interesting to do this in a building in which colour plays little part.  Surely there would be little difference?  Well, apparently there is.  I find the black and white version a little too austere for my tastes. What do you think?

And here’s a view of the Abbey with Huby’s Tower, which was completed a mere 13 years before Henry VIII brought the Fountains Abbey community to an end in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.  I’ve tried to show it more as it might have looked then, set in a wilder landscape than the manicured parkland we see today.  And when it came to the monochrome version – well, there’s black and white, and black and white.  Again, there are choices here ….

2020 Photo Challenge #34

Monday Window

Windows? Or Washing?

Blogging challenges

August is traditionally Silly Season in the media.  I’ll join in.  I’ll pretend that it’s the two windows you can just about see that are the subject of this post.  We all know it’s really the washing line. And its contents.

 

Disclaimer:  this is not our washing.

These are Silly Season entries for both Monday Window and Jude’s Photo Challenge, which is this week about colour with a bit of zing.

Monday Window

 

2020 Photo Challenge #31