Heading back to Australia for real life, rather than backpacking, I chose to fly Korean Air. Lovely airline, with the benefit of have a stopover in Seoul. So I decided to spend a few days there and have a little look around.
I was really glad I did. The snow on the ground made everything look very pretty, but cold!! Everyone I came across wanted to be helpful and see that I was alright, so I felt very welcomed and safe.
My first mistake though was to try and see the sights on a Monday. Seoul tourist spots are pretty much all closed on Mondays. And although it did all look pretty in the snow, it was freezing. So I ended up in an exhibition of bonsai trees, to try and warm up and defrost, which was surprisingly nice. This is a lesson in reading a guide book and finding out when things are open before going anywhere. I unfortunately also didn’t have a phrasebook, so I ended up just going into a restaurant and taking a sample of whatever they offered, which was nice.
I had saved Changdeokgung palace until the Tuesday because it was near the hostel where I was staying, but to my disappointment, this was the only palace that was actually closed on a Tuesday!! If only I had known that on Monday when wandering around the centre looking at the outside of all the closed palaces. After cursing my disorganisation and lack of preparation, I jumped on a bus into the city centre again, determined to see inside the main palace and I was pleased that I did. There was a ceremony, a bit like the changing of the guard I imagine, and it was definately worth a look around.