Tokyo Quilt Show

Yes……….it’s April.  Yes…………..I went to the Tokyo Quilt Show in January.  Better late than never I always say.

I joined a quilt club in August of 2015, and I have to say, it has been such a good thing for me.  I was struggling with wanting to get back in the sewing room when the quilt that I was working on for Andre’ and me just wasn’t going well.  But with encouragement from this group, I was able to finally get that quilt finished, and better yet, make some new friends.

We started talking about the quilt show way back in September, and it was decided in October that we should go.  There were 6 of us ready to make the trek together.  I was able to secure airline tickets and hotel rooms through Travelocity, and we were set.

We arrived in Tokyo Thursday Jan. 21st, in the late afternoon.  We caught a bus to our hotel, checked in, and then walked around to see the sites.

We spent Friday shopping in an area of Tokyo that is known for its fabric shops.

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It was nice to find some good deals, and by Friday afternoon, we were all ready to head back to the hotel and share our purchases with each other.

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Then Friday evening, I taught the ladies how to play North Dakota Rummy, and we had a blast.

Saturday morning found us up bright and early, and on the subway to the quilt show which was held at the Tokyo Dome.  We arrived about a half hour before the gates opened, and I was surprised to see such a line.  I guess the Japanese love their quilts just as much as Americans do. The amusement part was right next to the Dome, and the roller coaster and ferris wheel were pretty awesome.

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We were warned that if we wanted to do any shopping at the show (vendors) we really should do that first, to get the best selection of products.  It was fun to see what was all available, and I did make some great $5/meter purchases on some Japanese fabrics.

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But the best part of the show was just looking at all the quilts.  I know that the following pictures probably won’t do them justice, but you can get an idea of how beautiful they were.  Enjoy!

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This last quilt was the grand winner of the show.  The name of the quilt was “Go Bananas”.  It wasn’t my favorite, but I guess the judges liked it.

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My purchases:

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It was certainly a “Bucket List” experience that I shall never forget.  Thank you Quilt Club ladies for showing me a fabulous time…………….

 

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Mike’s Visit to Seoul

Like I said in my last blog, I’m getting caught up on past visits.  My computer was also having trouble the past week, so I am still a bit behind.  But this blog will wrap up 2015 so that I can finally get my mind wrapped around 2016.  It’s already February, so I am still behind.

Andre’s brother Mike arrived here with us right after Thanksgiving, and we had such a great time.  I didn’t take a ton of pictures like when most people come,but I think we were just so in the moment of enjoying him being here that we didn’t snap away with the camera.

We did most of the usual things.  Went to the Korean War Memorial, Gyeongbukgung Palace, Namsan Tower, one of the beautiful Temples here in the Gangnam area, and Mike even went on a day trip to the DMZ.  I was sad that he was not able to get into the actual area where you get to walk into part of North Korea, but he did get to see it from a distance, and also see the other attractions, including walking down to see the 3rd Tunnel.  (There was some type of “special” event going on that day at the JSA, and he was notified well in advance that he would not be able to go into the Panmunjun area.  Thus, they did give him a discount on his ticket)

We got our first snowfall the day I took Mike to the Memorial.  It was so beautiful, out walking in the snow.  The flakes were big, and it was not too cold.

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Gyeongbukgung………..(my favorite photo spots)

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And Bongeunsa Temple.  We actually had a nice Korean Lady stop us and tell us thank you for all that the Americans have done for their country.  It was really sweet!

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The trip would have not been complete for our guest unless we took him to Chadol House for some Korean BBQ, and Andre’s favorite………..BBQ Beef Bacon.  Mike approved. (a pic of Namsan Tower on our way home after dinner)

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Just because there were less pictures, it doesn’t mean we didn’t have a GRAND time.  Thanks Mike for coming to see us.  He was #16 on our list of “groups” that have come to visit us here in Seoul.  I’ll keep blogging when #17, 18, and 19 get here.  I hope we reach 20 before we leave.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving in Korea with Friends

First, I must apologize.  I am a bit behind on Blogging these days.  But I am back at it and wanted to share a few blogs about some great things that happened last fall here in Korea. One of those wonderful experiences was to have a Traditional Thanksgiving Meal here in our home for non-Americans.

We have been talking about Thanksgiving food with some of our non-American friends for 3 years, and it was finally time to have them to our house for a traditional American Thanksgiving meal.

I planned out every detail of how I could prepare this meal with just one small oven and a crock pot.  Several of the Belgian ladies came over to the apartment the day before the meal and helped me chop cranberries, make butterhorns (an Yvette Fischbach Tradition in the family) prepare pie crusts, and make the filling for 2 pumpkin pies and a pecan pie.  They had never had any of these food before, so it was a learning experience for them as well.  I baked the pies on Thursday. (technically, Wednesday in the USA) They turned out great.

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Friday morning I put the first turkey in the oven so that it would be ready to take out and cook the “Turducken” later.  What is that, you ask?  It’s a big turkey, deboned (except for the legs and wings) and then stuffed with a duck that has been previously deboned and stuffed with a small deboned chicken.  It also had some cajun stuffing packed in there between the meats.  I know it sounds kind of crazy, but the Belian families really wanted to have Turducken because they had heard so much about it.  I was able to secure one already prepared, in the frozen state.  So we cooked a tradional turkey and then a turducken.

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Andre did a beautiful job of carving both of the turkeys.

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We also had a fresh cranberry/orange/apple/pineapple salad, sweet potato souffle, broccoli casserole, and more stuffing (as well as gravy). It was all so delicious.

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Everyone was pretty excited to see how the food was presented.  And then we all dug in!

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Our friend Randy from Belgium had to have his picture taken with the chef!  (how sweet)

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They were all so thrilled.  Everyone had seconds of their favorite, and then after dinner, while sipping on some wine, we sat around the living room and I asked everyone individually to tell me what their favorite food was.  Turducken did not come in first, I can say, but we were all happy to have had the chance to try it.  I think everyone loved the fresh cranberry salad and also the 2 vegetable casseroles.  And we took a vote on cool whip vs. the spray can whipped topping, and they all loved the cool whip.  Andre’ was happy.

It was a with great pleasure to have had these people in our home for a Traditional American meal.  They were very grateful, and we were all very stuffed!!!

 

The Connollys……Part 2

Tuesday I took the Connolly’s to the Korean War Memorial.  James really enjoyed the Turtle Boat display and Jaime could have stayed for hours reading about the Korean War and what happened.  For anyone that goes there (and it’s not uncommon to stay 2-3 hours easily) it really helps you to understand what a terrible war it was between the North and the South.

After the Memorial, we had Lunch in Itaewon with my friend Clara at our favorite Thai restaurant, and then Clara promised Debe a tour of the shopping areas in Itaewon.  I am not really a shopper (mostly because I don’t like to pay a ton for clothes) but we did find a really fun store that both Debe and I were able to find things we liked at the price we liked, so all was good.

After dinner Tuesday night, James, Debe, Andre’ and I went to the Cheonggyecheon Stream to see the Lanterns that were set up for the Lantern Festival that is held each year here.  We were in awe again this year at how beautiful the Lanterns were.  This year’s theme was “International” so they had designs from all over the world.  I’ll start with my Favorite, and then move on from there.

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As I’ve said before, the Lanterns are all on scaffolding that is placed in the middle of the Stream.  It’s really great to see at night.

Wednesday, the 3 went to the DMZ, so I had a little time to do some laundry and take a nap.  Wednesday night we were back out for Korean BBQ, this time at our favorite (and AJ’s) pork place that serves scrambled egg with the meal.  Yum Yum.

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Thursday morning we went to Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam.  I’ve taken about half of my guests to this temple, and it is certainly a nice one.  The statue is certainly a site to see.  (it’s the biggest one in Korea)

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I wanted to have a little fun myself, so I tried a “selfie”…………..

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Then we were off to Namsan Tower because it was a pretty clear day. (“selfie” #2)

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(sorry, but I don’t have any other pics of us there)

Friday we went to my “all time” favorite place to take people who come to visit.  Not sure if I’m more impressed with the Palace, or the awesome pics I get to take of everyone before we walk through the grounds.

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It was such a beautiful day.  Skies were clear and it was just fun to walk around.

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We stopped outside the Folk Museum so they all could be photographed with their Chinese Zodiac Animal.  (James and Jaime–the year of the rooster, and Debe—the year of the rat)

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After a quick peek at the Blue House, we walked to Samcheongdong for lunch.  The Italian Restaurant had their windows open and the Ginko Trees were so beautiful.

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After lunch we walked up to the Hanok Village in Bukchon. The persimmon trees were loaded and looked so delicious.

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As were were coming out of the Hanok Village area, James spotted a little art shop that he wanted to stop in and see.  The art was quite unique in that all of the pictures were made by drawing/painting little squiggles.

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The artist was working on a project in the back room and asked James if he’d like to paint a little bit.  James was so blown away and excited all at once.  I mean, who asks you to do part of their painting?  It was wonderful.

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After that, we walked the Samcheongdong streets, browsed some shops, and then headed to Insadong.  On the way we spotted a place where you could rent bicycles.  I thought it was pretty neat how you could use a subway card to rent a bike for a ride.

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Then after some tea purchases and a few other things, we had some mango potbingsu.  All were impressed.  Yum Yum!Debe 60

The last night of their stay here in Seoul,  James, Debe and I went into Itaewon a little early to pick up James’ suit and also to do a little “last minute” shopping.  We stopped at the clothing store we had bought from on Tuesday, and both of us found more things to purchase.  Then we went to “Eden Pottery” where Debe picked up some ceramic figurines, James bought Korean Cards, and then we stopped for a quick drink before meeting the boys at Vatos for our “fairwell” meal.  I had not been to this establishment before, but the drinks were good and it was nice to rest our feet a bit.

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What a great visit.  So many fun things to see and do.  I’ll end this blog with a few fun photos of our week.  I shall not soon forget it!  Thank you Debe, Jaime and James for coming all this way to see us.

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(the next one is James in front of the Seoul Finance Center–sorry but you can’t read the lettering)

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Debe, Jaime and James………Part 1

We have had so much family come to visit us here in Seoul, but I am always happy when friends come to visit too.  Debe, Jaime and James Connolly from Clarks Summit, PA arrived here in Seoul on Friday, November 6, and WOW, we had a great time.  I was so happy to see my friend Debe.  We had to celebrate with a Gin/Tonic just for old times sake.

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Saturday morning, we were up bright and early and in to Itaewon by 10am. James wanted to have a suit made at Mr. Park’s (our favorite tailor) and James and Debe wanted to have shoes made from “Bob” the shoe guy.  We were successful in selecting a beautiful blue fabric for James’s suit, and both Debe and James had eel skin shoes made.  (I am so sorry that I didn’t get pictures of either of them, but wow, they both turned out amazing).  And the really cool part of the trip is that Jaime found alligator boots on the shelf at Bob’s that he had made for someone else, and they ended up not fitting, so when Jaime saw them, he liked them, and tried them on.  Perfect fit.  He ended up taking them back to PA.  He was all smiles.

Saturday night found us at our local Pork BBQ place that everyone loves.  I think everyone was happy.

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Sunday after church, Debe and James wanted to go to the Mall and do some shopping, so we left Andre’ and Jaime back at the apartment to watch some John Wayne movies, and off we went on the Subway, south of the river, to the Lotte Mall.  It’s located right next to the new skyscrapper that is being built in the Jamsil area of Seoul.

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Yep……….it’s a pretty cool building. There was also another building on the other side of the mall that impressed us as well.

Debe 6This is a really nice Mall, and Debe and James had so much fun.

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We stumbled across a really awesome exhibit while there, so of course, we had to go in.  It was free, and so so fun!

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The exhibit was all characters from the Donald Duck and Goofy comic strip.  The figures were made out of bones. It was so cool.

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You must be at least slightly impressed?  Well, we were.

There was also other interesting art objects on display that I thought were pretty impressive.  I snapped a few shots just for you all.

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And this purse was interesting.  I wouldn’t be caught dead with it personally, but to each his own.

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We had a great time, but missed our boys back at the apartment also, so we headed home.

Monday morning, I took the group to our Annual SIWA Bazaar.  There are probably 50-75 booths set up for food and wares to sell from all over the world.  James found this booth to his liking, so we had to stop so he could have his picture taken.  (boys will be boys)

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We ate some amazing food from Belgium, Sicily, and other parts of the world, and bought some really fun items from India and Kazahkstan.  They all thought it was pretty fun.

That night we went out to more Korean BBQ.  This time we tried a new place.  We were embarrassed when we found out we had to sit on the floor, but what the heck!  They have to experience that too, right?

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It wasn’t our favorite place to eat, but the side dishes (panchan) were pretty good, and hey, meat is meat!  We had a good time.

I’ll stop here so that I don’t have so many pictures in one post.  I’ll continue on tomorrow with Part 2.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 5th Namsan Hike

Between company, I still try to give an occasional hike.  Namsan Hike was the last one for the season, so before it got too cold, we got this one “into the books.”  And, of course, I scheduled it between groups of people coming to visit us.

We started at the bottom of Namsan, at Namdaemun Market, and it took us about 40 minutes to make it to the top.  There are a lot of steps on this hike, so I’m usually the first one to be relieved when we finally make it to the top.

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What a beautiful time of the year for this hike.  The trees were absolutely perfect and really showed off their fall colors.

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Of course, there is always time for a quick photo!

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And the Wall is always so beautiful!

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But these trees just made me smile!

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(the yellow tree is a ginko tree, and the red one is a Japanese Maple.)

After our hike, we went to a Napalese/Tibetan/Indian restaurant.  The food was very good, and we worked up quite an appetite.

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Thank you SIWA ladies for a wonderful Hike.  See you on the Mountains in 2016…………….

Mike and Carla……..Part 3

I bet you thought I’d fallen off the face of the map.  I haven’t posted the end of Mike and Carla’s trip.  We have had several more sets of company since they left, so I’m a bit behind.  I’ll try to catch up now.

Still 2 more days in Jeju.  We had so much to see and do.  We woke Sunday morning, and the weather didn’t look so great, but that wasn’t going to stop us.

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Our first stop was Jungmun Daepo Jusangjeolli, or “Columnar Joint.”  These columns are tetragonal-hexagonal pillars that look like they have been delicately carved by a keen graver.  It is a vertical joint that appears in lava flows.  It was a beautiful site to see.

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It was super windy.

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We also had to take a couple silly pictures with some of the “phallic”statues they love here in Korea.

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Then we drove about 45 minutes to the base of Hallasan Mt. for a bit of a hike.  (about 4 hours actually)  We chose, early on in the trip, to not hike the whole Mt. (it would have taken us 8-9 hours) but we did want to stretch our legs a bit and say we at least walked part of it. The drive there was gorgeous. Almost like a tree tunnel.

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I didn’t take many pictures during the hike because I was too busy concentrating on where to take my next step.  We hiked on a lot of rocks, and not all the path was easy.

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We stopped about 2 hours in at a rest area.  Drank some water, and then turned back.  It was a nice hike.

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Here is the portion of the mountain that we hiked.

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Then we were back in the car for about an hour.  We wanted to get to our hotel on the East Coast of Jeju so that we still had a little time to explore before it got dark. The view from our hotel room helped us to invision what we were going to be doing Monday morning.  (Hike Seongsan Ilchulbong) This mountain was formed by a volcanic eruption in the middle of the ocean and it stands 182 meters above sea level.  The peak has a ring of rocks in the shape of a crown with a large crater at the center.

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Before it got dark out, Andre’ and I took Carla to the beach to do a little shell searching.  Mike decided to stay back at the hotel.

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On our drive back to the hotel, we found a good Pork BBQ place to have dinner, so that was fun.  Food was good and the joint was not busy. (pretty sure the place was brand new, so that was probably why it wasn’t busy.)

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We decided not to get up at 3:30am to do the sunrise at the top of the Mt., but we were up early enough to see our way as we assended the steps to the top.

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Then we started up!

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It was not an easy climb, and I had to stop many times to catch my breath, but it was worth the 25-30 minutes of pain to see the views from the top.

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Then after 30 minutes of just enjoying it all, we had to decend back down a few stairs.

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It was a nice experience and we topped it off with Breakfast at Dunkin Donuts at the bottom of the hill.  🙂

Then it was time to start driving back to the Airport.  Our flight wasn’t until around 2pm, but we needed to turn in the rental car and also take a shuttle back to the airport.  We stopped along the way to photgraph a few of the many beautiful fields, and also to take a nice picture of Mt. Hallasan before we left Jeju.

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The whole time we were in Jeju, Andre’ and Mike nursed on a bottle of Woodford Reserve each evening.  There was a little bit left and we didn’t want to throw it away.  So I put it in a water bottle and brought it to the airport with us.  I made sure Mike and Andre’ had the last bit before we had to go through security and get rid of all our liquids.  The pics are a bit blurry, but I think you get the idea.

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And I have to show you what Carla and I enjoyed while in Jeju.  We bought them at the convience stores each night before our card playing began.  It was pretty good for $3 a pouch.

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Our Jeju trip came to and end, but we sure did enjoy the time there.

I’ll wrap up my story about Mike and Carla’s trip with a few last pictures.  When we got back to Seoul, we went to the Korean War Memorial the next day so that Mike and Carla could learn more about the Korean War before heading to the DMZ on Wednesday.  We spent several hours at the Memorial and learned so much.

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Then they were off to the DMZ on Wednesday.

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Wow…………..what a great time we had with my big brother and his wife.  Couldn’t have asked for a better time with travel, hiking, cards, games, and wonderful conversation.  Thanks so much for a wonderful visit.  It was fantastic!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike and Carla…………Part 2………Jeju

Jeju is an Island off the SW coast of South Korea.  We have been wanting to go there for almost 2 and 1/2 years, so finally we had a couple takers, (Mike and Carla) and we went.  We flew out of Seoul Friday afternoon (after a 4 hour wait because of a delay) and arrived in Jeju City around 3.  (it’s only a 1 hour flight)  After a bus trip to the rental car place, we were on the road in our rental car (a Hyundai Avante–pretty sure it was run by hamsters)  to Seogwipo, the southern tip of the Island.  It was only about 40 miles, but it took us an hour and a half to get there.  Jeju City traffic made us feel like we were still in Seoul.  But hey, we were on vacation, and Andre’ is an excellent driver, so we did just fine.

After getting settled into our hotels rooms, Mike had spotted a “Black Yak” store as we were approaching our hotel, and he wanted to go do a little shopping.  Black Yak is a Korean Clothing store that specializes in anything “outerwear” and has some really nice hiking gear.  Mike was looking for some hiking shoes since we were planning to do a bit of hiking in Jeju and they were also going to go hiking in New Zealand after leaving Korea.  We were very successful with securing a pair of hiking shoes for Mike, but no…………..he did not buy Black Yak.  He ended up with a brand called Marmot, and I am pretty sure they are made in the USA.  (nice job!)

After that, we were all starving, so we headed out for a Korean BBQ.  Jeju is known for its “black pork” and we wanted to give it a try.  We are not really sure why they call it black pork.  Maybe because the pig is black………..we really don’t know.  But anyway, the BBQ was good.  (sorry, no pics of us actually eating, but this is the restaurant we went to)

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Friday evening found us back at the hotel teaching Mike how to play Whist. It was an on-going adventure, but I do have to say, I think his brother-in-law (Carla’s brother) will be happy we spent some time helping him out a bit.

Saturday morning we started some sight-seeing.  Jeju is also known for it’s beautiful “natural” tourist attractions, so our first stop was Cheongiyeon Falls.  (only a short distance from our hotel)

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So glad some of the info is in English.  🙂

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Andre’ and Mike spotted this little contraption in the parking lot.  Isn’t it cool how you can take a walk behind tiller and make a driving automobile out of it?  Well, I was impressed.

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Then we walked past a harbor and over a really pretty bridge to a small island that at one time had been farmed by people who lived in Jeju.  Now it is more of a National Park, and people can walk around this little island and have some pretty views.  It was about a 15-20 minute walk around the island. (the first picture is of the bridge on the way back from the island)

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(a panoramic view of part of the harbor)

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After our “island” hike, we headed back to the hotel so we could rest our feet for a bit.  Andre’ had to do a bit of work, so I took Mike and Carla to an open market close to the hotel.  They had some pretty good street food and we did get to see a good display of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and jeju chocolate for sale.  Mike bought a carrot to eat, and Carla bought jeju chocolate with mandarin orange flavoring in the middle.  We were all happy. I was a bit tired after the open market so Andre’ was ready to relieve me of my “tour” duties, and he took Mike and Carla to another Waterfall while I took a nap.  This time they saw Jeongbang Falls.  It was a short walk from the hotel, and I was happy to have a little snooze.

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After that little excursion, it was time to head back to the hotel, shower up, and attend 5:00 Mass.  I had scoped out a Catholic Church close to our hotel (from Google) and we got directions from the gentleman at the front desk.  We had already found the church when we went out to dinner the night before, so off we went. (this picture was taken from the top our our hotel.  The church is the big building in the middle of this picture)

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It was an interesting Mass.  Because it was a “children’s” Mass, there weren’t many people there.  And of course, we happened to hit First Communion weekend.  Korean Catholic Mass is structured the same as all Catholic Masses, it’s just said in Korean, but we brought our prayer books with us, so we had the readings.  Of course, you don’t get much out of the sermon, but it is a nice experience.  The priest was very “energetic” and was asking the kids questions.  They would raise their hands from the congregation, and if they would get the answer right, he would pretend he was a horn, make a very cute trumpet sound, and they would run down to him and he would hand them a small piece of paper.  Not sure what that piece of paper was all about, but the kids were sure happy to get it.  Maybe it was for a free ice cream cone or something.  We don’t know.

At the Sign of Peace, the priest asked us in English where we were from.  He then welcomed us, and after the initial ‘sign of peace’, all of the children in the congregation came back to our pew and gave us the Sign of Peace.  They do it a bit different in Jeju though, and that was pretty fun.  They first crossed their arms over their chest, and then gave a doble high 5 to us.  It was so very special.  At the end of Mass, the whole congregation clapped for us, and it was such a welcoming experience.

After Mass, we stopped at a cute little restaurant and had some dinner.  The food was really fantastic, and we weren’t the only foreigners there, so we had an idea the staff might speak a little bit of English.  Andre had some awesome fish and chips, Carla had spaghetti, Mike had a burger, and I had a chicken salad. No complaints.Mike and Carla 90

Again, the evening found us back to the hotel for some cards, (Mike was still “in training”) but after just a game or two, we decided to hit the hay and get some good sleep.  Tomorrow would be another long one, and we didn’t want to miss a bit of it.

More to follow.

Mike and Carla’s Visit——Part 1

As always, I have about 95 pictures to post, so I’ll try to split this trip up into several segments.

Mike and Carla arrived late into Incheon on Tuesday evening Oct. 20 via Narita, Japan.  Andre’ and I drove the car out to pick them up.  At least the traffic wasn’t too bad when we came back towards the apartment.  Always perks to driving here in the city a bit later in the evening.

So………Wednesday morning after some good coffee and breakfast, we headed out for the day.  I knew we had a lot to see and do, so we went first to Gyeongbukgong Palace to get…………well you know………..that FAMOUS Picture!

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Mike and Carla really enjoyed the scenery around the palace.  It really was a nice day, so we snapped a few good shots.

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We spent a fair amount of time in the palace area.  Mike and Carla both really enjoyed seeing where the Kings and Royalty lived back in the 1300’s.

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And Carla and I enjoyed making fun of Mike when he was taking too many pictures. 🙂

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I think this one is Christmas Card worthy.

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After the Palace, we walked around back for the traditional “Pic in front of the Blue House”  (Korea’s White House)  (sorry the bottom of the picture is a little fuzzy.  Mike’s Ipad cover doesn’t fit too well)

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After the Palace we walked up the Hill to the Bukchon Hanok Village.

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And then to the entrance of Insadong where we met my friend Clara and went to a delightful Italian Restaurant for lunch.

Mike and Carla 54After lunch we crossed the street to the Buddhist Temple where there was an amazing Chrysanthemum display.

Mike and Carla 2

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Mike and Carla 4

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We walked the streets of Insadong for awhile, did a little “trinket” shopping, and then called it a day.

Thursday we had some fun in Namdaemun, eating street food and again, buying gifts for family/friends back home.   I don’t have any fun pictures of us eating street food, but I can tell you that Mike and Carla thought it was pretty good.

Enough for this post.  Stay tuned for more.

Seoul Fortress Hike—Bugaksan

I won’t bore you with a ton of details about this hike because it is my 4th time doing it, but I was up bright and early Thursday morning, Leading this one.  This specific hike is my favorite one because there are some challenging steps and I always feel like I have accomplished a lot after it is done.  We had a great group of ladies today, and quite a few new faces.  Countries represented were Canada, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, India, England, and the USA.  Pretty impressive.

Here are a few pics.

We got about 15 minutes into the hike, and there is a specific place that you have to turn left and go up steps.  I was shocked when we got there, and the steps WERE GONE!  Yikes…………  Thank goodness it is a short distance, and we all made it without falling.  I hope they have that fixed by spring when I do the spring hikes. (it was a little embarrassing)

Bugaksan Hike 1 Bugaksan Hike 2

This is the Northern most Gate on the Seoul Fortress Wall.

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This tree is nicknamed “1.21” because on January 21st of 1968, some North Korean soldiers got this close to Seoul and opened up gun fire on South Korean Military Soldiers.  This tree has almost 20 bullet holes in it.  (FYI…….the war ended in 1953)

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And yes, another successful hike to the top.  342 meters up…………..972 steps down.  (no really………..there are 972 wooden steps that go down one side)  I prefer to take the steps down, but most Koreans prefer to do this hike the other way around and take the 972 steps UP.  No Thank You.

Bugaksan Hike 5