Friday, August 17, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

Thus far, August in Seoul has been plagued by an historic heatwave.  Like most of the world this year, summer has been a season of heat and drought.  With little desire to be outside, I decided to finish scanning the remainder of our 20 year's worth of family photos into digital format.  I am now trying to organize and label photos and files on my computer.  This has been a great indoor project to get me through a few miserably hot weeks.  However, for an occasional much needed change of pace, Bob and I did venture out to see a few more sites.

The fourth largest park in Seoul is called "Dream Forest".  It is a nice big green space in the northeast section of Seoul.  Most of the usual features are there, such as traditional Korean architecture, a playground for the kids, "jumping fountains" for keeping cool, a pond, some waterfalls, a botanical garden, and a deer park.  At the top of a hill is a tall observatory from which you can see miles in  every direction.  (See those tall mountain peaks in the distance?  They are Bukhansan mountain peaks which we hiked to with the kids this summer.)  Though the park was nice enough, it was much too hot and humid to enjoy for long.  Not nearly as exciting as Children's Grand Park, or Seoul Forest which we enjoyed much more.

Bob's birthday came and went without much fanfare.  We took a few of the singles from our branch out to dinner to "Agra" Indian restaurant in Myeongdong (one of our favorites), and then returned to our apartment to eat Bob's favorite birthday cake - butter yellow cake with chocolate butter cream frosting.  Here's a couple of very reluctant photos of him sporting his new prescription sunglasses.

Wednesday, August 15 is a Korean National holiday (in honor of Emma's birthday?), celebrating their independence from Japan.  We decided to tour the Joseon Dynasty's secondary or "East Palace" built in the 1400's.  Comprised of two palaces, Changdeokgung and Changegyeonggung, it is built at the base of a mountain slope and it's location and design is much more aesthetically beautiful than the main palace.  There is a huge "secret garden" which we intended to tour, but we were flooded by a torrential rainstorm while there, and decided to come back another day!  Notice the clever rain spouts on the rooftops and the "waterfall" cascading down the steps.  Even though we had umbrellas with us, we went home absolutely soaked.  Yay for rain!

We look forward to returning to this lovely complex, perhaps on a clear, crisp and cool autumn day.