Thursday, March 24, 2016

Stop & Chat: March 24 - Namhansanseong


I thought I was going to go into Yongsan with Michael today to keep him company in case his dentist decided to perform his root canal that he needs. One of the other soldiers had a dentist appointment as well so they made arrangements to take a government vehicle. Basically Michael didn't need me anymore. LOL



Since I was up I puttered around online, writing out my Stop & Chat post and catching up on some reading. I meant to comment, but Mom and I ended up video calling and that kind of slipped my mind. It had been a while since we got to really talk because she's been busy with work and spring cleaning around the house. We've stuck to messages until today, so we took this opportunity to catch up and just chitchat. I've realized that I keep in contact with my parents a lot more than other people do. I don't know what to make of it besides I'm either really clingy or we have successfully made that adjustment in our relationship and how we approach each other to make almost daily contact more fun than an annoyance. I just have to be careful not to let them take charge of my marriage. Michael doesn't say anything but I know he fears that my constant contact with them keeps me from being my own person and making my own decisions. I'd like to think that's not the case, but I can't look at the situation objectively enough to really say.

While I was in the video call with Mom, L called and asked if I'd like to go to Namhansanseong and hike since it was a lovely day. The pollution index was really low and it was sunny with crystal clear air. Okay, not crystal clear, but the air was very clear. Visibility was amazing. I said yes and promptly ditched Mom to get ready. LOL As soon as I finished my phone call with L Mom asked if I was filling up my social schedule again and I told her you betcha! She did demand that I take pictures so I can send them to her. Pfft, like I was going to take any pictures. We totally didn't buy a camera with the very specific intention of documenting our time here in Korea! :P

L picked me up and we drove over. I experienced the closest thing I've gotten to true carsickness while she was driving up the extremely windy and narrow road that led up the mountain. I'd experienced minor discomfort when looking on my phone or reading something while Michael would drive and make a turn, but it was nothing compared to my nausea and stomach upside down why-would-you-do-this-to-me-oh-my-goodness-I-feel-like-I'm-dying feeling I get when I'm actually carsick. It wasn't L's driving; the road was just that windy.

We arrived and L took me to a couple of information buildings to pick up some pamphlets and get information about tours in English. In the end she said it would be better if we just told her when we wanted to go and she got it set up for us. Once we had all of that out of the way, we set off on our journey!!


L says the rough translation for Namhansanseong is mountain fortress.


A map!


We chose to walk along the wall and L told me the history of the area and Korea in general. It doesn't really look like it from this angle, but those stairs were no joke.


This shows a better angle of the stairs, as well as my awesome hiking getup. The temperature was somewhere in the 40s (Fahrenheit) with minor wind. As it was I had to take my jacket off pretty soon after this picture was taken.


I can only imagine what this'll look like once the leaves come in again!


I'm not quite in focus here. LOL You can see the city behind me, though! L says it's very rare that you can see so far.


I never know what to do in pictures.


...


There are two, sometimes three paths that run along this wall. One on the outside, one on top, and one on the inside of the wall. This is one of the paths on the outside.


This is another path that runs outside of the wall.


Another view of the city. L kept exclaiming at how clear the skies were.


Another view. Yes, there's a black smudge in a lot of these pictures now. Something got on the lens and I didn't notice it until I got home and loaded the pictures onto my computer. Phooey.


Biiiiiig tower under construction. I forget what it's called.


Looking out and how far the city spread was really mindboggling to me. Kind of like grasping the concept of how many humans are alive right now.


Information about the next area I'm going to show.




L says that the paint used on these buildings was more expensive than gold back when this place was first built.


The paint job is maintained to keep its vibrant colors. It looks so pretty!


This is the South gate. I wish I'd taken a picture so you could understand how large it is.


 After that we finished our walk of a smaller section of the wall. It took about an hour and a half. L says the larger loop takes around 3-4 hours. Then we went to view a reconstructed palace! The entrance fee was really expensive. 2,000W :P (~$1.75USD)


L explained that round pillars were only used for kings. Everyone else had to use square pillars in their buildings.  Most of these pictures won't have any text accompanying them. I feel like the information placards I took pictures of explain it better than I can.



 

The three open sections in the middle of this building could be closed if one desired, to protect from weather or get some privacy.




We were not allowed to enter any of the buildings. They were set up so we could look inside, though.


L believe that this was the King's bedroom.


So pretty!


The entire palace has a tiered design, due to being built on the side of a mountain.






You can see the gates that separate each tier.




I just love this architecture!







On the right were the female servant's quarters. The king's residence is on the left. L says it's for easy access so he could come over in the night and... make babies. LOL


These figures on the roof are meant to ward off bad spirits.



The stairs here are no joke.



The entrance to the palace.

After that we went to a local restaurant and ate some food. It was crowded and we were hungry, so I didn't bother taking a picture. While we were talking to the restaurant a group of inebriated women walked by and said something to L, pointing to me and giggling. One of them said "hi" and waved their hands really excitedly, so I responded in kind. I didn't realize they were drunk until we walked by them and I caught a whiff. Boy howdy was that strong. As they walked off L said that they told her I was very pretty. I know that got a blush out of me; my face felt hot until after we sat down in the restaurant.

I don't really remember what we ate. It was a traditional Korean meal, with small portions but lots of options. It'll take me a while to get used to that style of eating. I'm very much a pick one thing and eat it until I'm so full I can barely walk kind of girl. Lots of vegetables. My favorite part of it was a kimchi patty. Or maybe it was the brussel sprouts. Or spinach.

Once we finished that, L dropped me off at home and I took a nap. It was about 2 when I got home, and it was 5 when I woke up. Michael was home today because his superiors were nice and gave him the day off. They knew he was in pain and his root canal isn't until April 28th. His dentist says that if anything opens up he will move Michael up, but until then he has to make sure he's taking his antibiotics and pain meds as needed.

Two Stop & Chats in one day! Phew, I'm tired. I'm also dealing with a headache that is almost certainly from dehydration. I brought a water bottle but didn't drink from it while we were hiking. Bad Liz, paying more attention to picture taking than personal health.

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