Korea Trip- Traveling and Day 1

Our first layover was in Chicago, our second layover was in Toyko.  We were pretty excited to move around again after a 13 hour flight, not to mention we were now so much closer to Korea!  We explored the Narita Airport a bit, finding lots of pink girlie magazines:
And a lot of unidentifiable foods that made me really wish I could read Japanese.

My biggest regret this entire trip was that everyone had to speak to me in English.  I hated how ignorant I felt, especially when 5 year olds were walking by us saying "Hello!" to practice their English.  I only managed to be able to greet people and say thank you by the end of the trip, haha, oh well.  At least Becky could school us in customs, some language stuff, directions...really everything.  Otherwise I might still be wandering around Korea.  Thank you again Becky!!

So anyways, we finally got to Korea!  It was dark when we landed, so I didn't get any pictures until we were exploring the next day.  We went to Seoul Tower after some breakfast in the hotel that Becky had brought for us- 6 apples, 6 bananas, trail mix, and granola bars.  It was so adorable and yummy!  Have I said thank you to her yet?  Thanks Beck!  Right, ok, Seoul Tower.  You go up in a gondola to the top of a hill that overlooks Seoul (or at least a lot of it).
View of Seoul from the top of the hill.

Seoul Tower
We did not go up into Seoul Tower, but we had too many other things to do.  There were awesome views from everywhere, and Becky had a surprise for us when we got up there...  She showed us these "trees" with a gazillion locks on them.
Seoul Tower has become a monument to love.  You and your special someone lock a lock onto one of these trees, or the fences around the tower, and throw away the key.  You make a commitment to your love when you throw away that key, and you can write a note on your lock, or just leave it blank, or whatever!  Her surprise was that she had engraved locks for us- one for Mom and Dad, one for Matt and Beth (who immediately locked themselves together by their belt loops and luckily did not throw away their key quite yet), and one for Sisters!!  I loved it!
So our three pairs separated to find a place to lock our locks.  Becky and I picked a location along the fence, and hooked onto a chain that had started from others.
So keep your love locked down...
Sorry, I couldn't help it
Sisters with our lock :-)
Now to get rid of the key...
Lookin both ways...



There's a whole lot of love at this monument.  Even those benches slope in towards their center so that you have to sit close to your honey!  It was so amazing :-)  I'm so glad Becky took us here immediately!  So we explored some more, found more places where you can declare your love...

...then headed back into the city to get some food.  We headed to Myeongdong, which even at 2pm on a Monday had packed streets as if it was 9pm on a Saturday night.  We ate at Saboten, and I got a fried thing with a layer of pork, potato, and cheese, all fried together, called donkatsu, and you make your own sauce by mashing up seeds into a powder then combining them with a sweet sauce already provided on our table.  It tasted amazing on the fried foods, but even mixed with the rice.  There was also this cabbage slaw that we added a sweet vinegar to and it was like, the best thing I've ever tasted.  And I don't like cabbage.  I don't get it, it was fantastic.  

Then, we took the subway to Gyeongbokgung Palace, and had our first encounter with Manoffin and Deli Manjoo in the Myeongdong subway station.  Manoffin had these amazing umm... muffin-cupcake fusions?  They weren't uber sweet, but they weren't muffins, haha.

Deli Manjoo was like, these little bite sized hot waffle things filled with custard in the middle.  So tasty, so easy to eat too many of. 

Ok, right, then we went to a palace.
Everything is painted beautifully
Becky is so stylin, Palace entrance in the background

Side opposite the Palace entrance, looking out into Seoul

Further into the Palace grounds
Ridiculously detailed interiors

We missed you Patti, Ed and Cole!

Then we left the palace and walked towards the City Hall area.

We took a quick coffee break...
And then explored Cheonggyecheon, this totally redone stream area that totally reminded me of Cherry Creek in Denver.  It was just a cute place to walk around, especially at dusk.
Beth, Matt and Becky

Patti would be so proud of these poses!

Becky took this! Impromptu gallery documenting the history of the area

We stayed long enough to see the lights turned on
Mmmm, love this view!

Waterfall baby!
Little underground area to get back up to street level.
I love cool lighting, obvi

So after we explored the stream, we took the subway back to near Becky's base and went to a great place in Itaewon and got a wonderful dinner.  It was such a packed day I forgot to photograph that meal, but I got a fried rice type thing, so just picture a super delicious version of that!  Then, we fell into bed back at our hotel on base and crashed pretty darn hard after our first packed day in Seoul :-D
Woo, look at everything we did just on day one!  No wonder I took 1400 pictures in a week.  Ridiculous.  Are you still reading this?  Thank you for still reading this!  I'll show you more soooooon!

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