Thursday, November 11, 2010

Night Palace

There's a lot I could write about today, including some G20 action and Remembrance/Pepero Day, but I'll save those for another time.

What I want to write about is my visit with the rabbit to Seoul's grandest palace, Gyeongbuk-gung.

You know, I've thought about it recently, and I believe that I have now strolled at least part of the way through Gyeong-buk Palace's grounds about 10 times. What made it different today however, was that we got to go at night. Apparently, Gyeongbuk Palace is open to the general public AFTER sunset for the first time in 615 years. This is apparently a result of Seoul hosting the G20 meeting and wanting to give opportunities to as many foreigners as possible to visit the sites - tomorrow (Friday) is the last day of the late opening. I had a look for Obama tonight, but no such luck. Harper was there, but nobody gave a rat's ass. Kidding.

I really have no idea if palaces in other Asian cities are open after dark, but this was a very cool experience. It truly felt like I was visiting the palace for the first time. The stone walkway to the main throne hall was lit by lanterns and it felt like it had a completely different atmosphere than it had during previous visits.

I ended-up taking a few good shots, and fiddled with the Canon G11's shooting modes. I settled on one that gave the lit buildings a warmer glow. I love this camera.

It was a challenging day at school - more on that tomorrow - and we had considered maybe calling this night off as wind, rain, and lightning started-up as soon as we got to Anguk. However, it soon cleared, and the rabbit and I were able to enjoy a relatively quiet night at the palace - it had apparently been wall-to-wall people the previous evening.

After that, a stroll through Samcheong-dong, lined with golden leaves and an ommlette dinner at a great new all-day brunch cafe. I had long thought the only affordable meal in that neighborhood was ddeok-bokki, and that the only brunch worth having was way down south at Butterfingers. Not anymore. The Cafe for all Seasons opened this year and is operated by a chef who trained out of San Francisco. Great brunch menu - and affordable - even without the rabbit's coupon collection. The perfect end to a surprising and unique evening at the palace.

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