South Korea - Sophisticated Seoul - Part 2

mickey mouse and donald duck
Photo by Yu Kato / Unsplash

We stayed in the vibrant Myeongdong area - laneways filled with little shops and at night abuzz with street food stalls and a plethora of restaurants.

We found a great little place for dinner with dual language menu - grilled mackerel for me and Korean spicy seafood hotpot for my girlfriend. Both delicious- so good in fact we returned a few evenings later and ordered the same thing!

Myeongdong area, bottom left - a coffee stop - generally the coffee is excellent! Bottom right - The chef was thrilled to see us a 2nd time, our meal was a feast. Photos: Jane

We again used the metro to visit the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, run by the Samsung Foundation of Culture. Three contemporary buildings, each designed by a different architect, showcase a mix of traditional and contemporary art.

We spent our time in the modern cylindrical terracotta brick building by Swiss architect Mario Botta - starting at the top we wound our way down four floors of Korean painting, calligraphy, ceramics, metal and wood craft and Buddhist art covering the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties, which were intertwined with modern installations.

I loved the modern light installation by Olafur Eliasson. I was equally fascinated by a range of his works a year or so ago at an exhibition titled ‘Light’ in Melbourne. A link to post is included at the end of this post.

Leeum Samsung Museum of Art: Central stairway through Mario Botta building; exterior view of 2 buildings - Mario Botta red brick building in the background; some of the exquisite traditional wares; modern light installation by Olafur Eliasson (I was equally intrigued by a range of his works a year or so ago at an exhibition titled ‘Light’ in Melbourne). Photos: Jane

For a touch of tradition we visited the Bukchon Hanok Village, located between the Gyeonbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces.

During the Joseon era, Bukchon Hanok Village was home to high-ranking officials, nobles, and their families. It remains a residential area attracting crowds of tourists, many hiring traditional clothing giving an authentic feel as we meandered through the narrow laneways and alleys admiring some of the 900 houses made of stone and clay, reflecting the traditional cultural essence of ancient Korea, all with those fabulous pagoda style roofs.

Bukchon Hanok Village. Photos: Jane

Some of the homes are now shops selling tea, perfume, souvenirs, while Baek In-je House, is a museum, converted from a private home built during the Japanese colonial era - a well-preserved example of hanok architecture.

Bukchon Hanok Village. Top - Baek In-je House. Centre - Gahoe Hankyunghum Gallery Cafe, view over the rooftops from its high vantage point. (Photos: Jane).A similar view in winter (photo by Jane of an image in the tea shop) Bottom - Tea served in fine cups decorated with Vincent Van Gogh art work. Photos: Jane

Along the way we stopped at the Gahoe Hankyunghum Gallery Cafe - a tiny tea house - serving only traditional Korean fruit teas - all with health giving properties.

Gahoe Hankyunghum Gallery Cafe Photo by Jane of Tea menu

Join me in a few days to explore the country of South Korea

Light and Space Art Movement - Olafur Eliasson
Olafur Eliasson, is a Danish artist whose sculptures and large-scale installation art employed elemental materials such as light, water, and air temperature to enhance the viewer’s experience of the ordinary.