Last few days of our Korea trip (day 12, 13 and 14)

I have been a bit lazy keeping up this daily journal for my Korea trip this week. I’m writing this from memory while everyone is still sleeping. Right now it’s early Sunday morning in Korea.

We left the temple on Thursday and traveled to Muju. The drive was beautiful and we arrived at our destination, the Taekwondo Center

It was a convenient place to stop as we eventually needed to drive back to Seoul. I am really glad we did. It’s a fun place and we watched an amazing exhibition. The kids loved it and so did the adults. We also took a mini class with one of the instructors as a group.

The area is really extraordinary. The mountains and vistas are stunning. Mountains fill the entire landscape throughout this entire country.

We stayed Muju for one night and then left for Seoul the following morning (Friday).

The drive to Seoul was three hours. It was hard for the photographer in me to watch all the mountains, valleys, rice fields and small villages through the window of our transport without stopping to make a few exposures along the way. But I knew we were itching to get back to the city so we made the drive direct.

Arriving back in Seoul was initially jarring. I once again forgot just how massive this city of 20MM people feels. And the contrast to the ritual areas just beyond the city is dramatic.

The weather cooled off nicely here the last few days and made it pleasant to just walk and explore the city some more.

I had been reading about the camera market in Namedaemun. So we decided to make it over there after lunch. It hapoened to be quite close to our hotel. It is such a cool place for camera nerds. One small store after another selling vintage lenses, and cameras as well as new gear too. It was fun to check out all of the medium format film cameras I had never seen before.

The next day was our last full day in Korea. We decided to make the trip to the super trendy Gangdam district. It’s a huge area. If you visit I would recommend grabbing a quick bite at this place and then walking this very street. Its filled with cute shops, cafes and the people watching is fantastic. At one point my oldest daughter said, “I could live here”.

Lauren suggested we end our last night in style. So we rented a room in a Karaoke place and we sang along to one cheesy song after another. Lauren sang “Roar” by Katie Perry. The girls sang Taylor Swift and one of the songs from the soundtrack Frozen. My song that night was “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard. My mom sang the Beatles and Lauren’s mom sang Billy Joel. Thankfully I don’t think anyone recorded it :) We had so much fun and a great way to end the evening.

This afternoon (Sunday) we are heading home. We leave Seoul at 2:30pm local time and we get back to Boston at 10pm est tonight. I think we are flying a total of 18 hours on the air and a three hour layover in California. It will be a very long Sunday.

This trip has meant so much to me. This country is beautiful and the people are so kind. Having our family here to experience this together has been something I will never forget.