Alone, South Korea

A Glimpse of Medieval Korea

color maneuvers
Royal soldiers from Gyeongbokgung Palace parade with weapons and banners in one of the changing of the guard ceremonies.
Korean medieval lines
Sequence of rooftops of Gyeongbokgung Palace buildings.
Safe from the cold
Royal guards hold their shift in a plush medieval uniform adapted to the bitter cold of Seoul's winter.
Blues' Asia
Monument to the Blues Brothers on a street in the South Korean capital.
Soldiers in medieval dress at their guard posts at the entrance to Gyeongbokgung Palace.
in Seoul by night
A passer-by walks through a night market in Seoul.
inconvenient wind
Banner covers the face of one of the guards stationed at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
a handy shelter
Small improvised bar on a cold street in Seoul.
In the middle of Asian winter
One of the icy lakes inside Gyeongbokgung Palace.
A kiwi among South Koreans
Paul Parsons and friends during one of the riding lessons that the New Zealand English teacher usually attends.
around the city
Seoul residents enjoy gliding on an ice skating rink.
photographic invasion
South Korean is photographed with the military of the royal guard at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
Gyeongbokgung Palace stands guarded by guardians in silken robes. Together they form a symbol of South Korean identity. Without waiting for it, we ended up finding ourselves in the imperial era of these Asian places.

The more we walk through the subway tunnels and speak in English with the last of the expats we met in Seoul, the harder it is to believe in the surrealism of the conversation. 

“The kids there in my school just love snakes!” “Snakes, really? Are you sure?" we tried to confirm, stunned. A little later, the interlocutor asks us: “Do any of you guys have a pin by chance? "

"the pin?” we asked again without realizing why the hell he would want a pin at that moment… and the misunderstandings would continue into the late afternoon. It took some more time for us to fully understand what was going on.

Paul Parsons was a young New Zealander with a cold-flushed face and fleeting blue eyes. He had been hired by a school in Seoul to teach English to children.

The problem started with his strong accent Kiwi from the Art Deco city of Napier that turned mere snacks em snakes, pen em pine as well as countless other mutations toxic to intelligibility.

When faced with this serious obstacle to the objectives of the educational establishment, the director asked him to speak US English instead of his Kiwi.

Paul refused because, when they hired him, they knew he came from New Zealand and not the "States“. We saw ourselves as victims of his integrity as the little Koreans who were his pupils but, little by little, we understood each other there. We ended up fraternizing much more than we thought possible.

The plump Psy singer made a millionaire by YouTube has made the Gangnam neighborhood craze for horseback riding and related finery globally famous.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Korea Travel, riding lessons

Paul Parsons and friends during one of the riding lessons that the New Zealand English teacher usually attends.

Paul Parsons showed us how, at least the equine aspect, had spread to various other parts of the city and took us to participate in private lessons that a teacher friend of his was in charge of in a riding ring with a suburban look.

We took a few laps at a walk, then at a trot, which increased the breath of the animals condensed by the Siberian temperatures that were already being felt under the blue sky over the Korean peninsula.

The following dawn brought an equal atmosphere, perhaps even cooler. We let ourselves sleep for an extra two hours and Paul Parsons much more. the host of Couchsurfing he had already arrived on the day of the party with his friends.

Hangover, neither the morning's riding nor repeating the program of watching the changing of the royal guard just to keep us company crossed his throbbing mind.

At around 8:40am, we set out into the cruel ice of early Korean winter determined to take a peek at the Ch'angdokkgung palace complex.

In particular, Gyeongbokgung Palace, considered the most imposing in South Korea, the most sumptuous of the five mandates built by the Joseon dynasty monarchs who led the nation from the late XNUMXth to the late XNUMXth centuries.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, Rooftops

Sequence of rooftops of Gyeongbokgung Palace buildings.

We arrived at the main entrance to the complex and found a few dozen people waiting. We joined the group. After a few minutes, ancient oriental music began to play.

Simultaneously, colorful soldiers from another era rounded the corner of the palace and came towards us, moving away from the granite slope of Mount Bugak.

They wore long satin kimonos in red or in different shades of blue, all of them with fluffy fur necks that protected the back of the neck and a considerable part of the face from the increasingly severe cold.

To complete the outfit, each of the guardians also had a necklace of beads and a helmet in the shape of a hat made of a kind of thin wicker on which decorative feathers of peacocks and other birds were skewered.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, outerwear

Royal guards hold their shift in a plush medieval uniform adapted to the bitter cold of Seoul's winter.

Several of them held flags and banners as or more colorful than their clothes, some, swords, others, shields and weapons with long handles and cut blades, similar to medieval European glaives.

Still others were archers. In addition to the bows in their hands, they carried sets of large arrows on their backs.

While the music unfolded, the actors carried out a simple choreography that made them line up in a pompous way with the flags in the wind, first facing the main portal of the palace, then with the palace behind them. So some withdrew inside.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, Color Maneuvers

Royal soldiers from Gyeongbokgung Palace parade with weapons and banners in one of the changing of the guard ceremonies.

They left the contemplated with watch shifts on a frozen guard in key positions of the portico to the delight of the small crowd of spectators who took the opportunity to take pictures with them, under the elegant architecture of the walls and inaugural entrances of the palace.

We had already witnessed numerous ceremonies of changing the guard and hoisting and collecting the flag in different countries.

Banner covers the face of one of the guards stationed at Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Until then, none had impressed us so much with the beauty of the costumes and the realism of the re-enactment as this one. And not even the modern buildings that opposed the Gyeongbokgung Palace seemed to detract from the period subtlety achieved.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, In Formation

Soldiers in medieval dress at their guard posts at the entrance to Gyeongbokgung Palace.

South Koreans have good reason to strive for this task. It was the emergence of the Joseon dynasty that granted them periods of stability, peace and national identity and sovereignty far longer than those they were used to.

It broke the previously prevailing scenarios of interference or dominance of China and Japan, the always atrocious Japanese ones, in particular the one from 1910 to 1945 when, with the pretext of organizing an exhibition, the Japanese razed Gyeongbokgung Palace for a second time.

Then followed the Korean War which ended with the Division of the country into North Korea and South Korea and the absolute polarization of these nations in terms of integration into the world community and development.

It is the recognition of its historical and national identity and the heritage of widespread modernity that South Korea celebrates both with its rebuilt Gyeongbokgung and its glamorous and festive guard.

We passed the medieval soldiers and entered the vast domain that the palace once again occupied. For hours on end, we explored the countless pavilions, gardens, bridges and icy lakes.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, ice lake

One of the icy lakes inside Gyeongbokgung Palace.

By late afternoon, we were back in present-day Seoul, with no sign of Paul, who was still struggling with the previous night's abuse.

We investigated the night market, busy and colorful in the way of the 100% genuine Korea Town that it was. We stopped at a skating rink and took a few laps that were a bit slippery and a bit clumsy but, more than saturated with cold, we soon got fed up.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, Ice Skating

Seoul residents enjoy gliding on an ice skating rink.

We took refuge in the comfort of a downtown restaurant and Korean cuisine.

We tried a kind of mini-pizza made with super spicy vegetables and, on the side, a slightly milder dose of kimchi. "With this combination, they'll be virus-immune for the entire winter!" threw the waitress in much more noticeable English than our New Zealand friend. “Don't get me wrong if I advise you Dong Dong Ju to go with.

It is a traditional sweetened rice wine. They'll like it. But attention! It's soft but very strong!”

We finished our meal and once again comforted and anesthetized for the cold, we wandered a little further through the surrounding streets.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul, Travel Korea, Blues' Asia

Monument to the Blues Brothers on a street in the South Korean capital.

Back home, Paul Parsons forced us to see his university project shot on 20mm video, a horror story with a cat and four classmates.

Above all, the film allowed us to see that his accent was terribly tighter than that of his countrymen.

The next morning, we also came to the conclusion that we were too saturated from the increasingly negative temperatures knowing we had upwards of 30° waiting in the southern hemisphere.

We get on a plane. In a few hours, we moved to the Australian summer.

DMZ, Dora - South Korea

The Line of No Return

A nation and thousands of families were divided by the armistice in the Korean War. Today, as curious tourists visit the DMZ, many of the escapes of the oppressed North Koreans end in tragedy.

Defenders of Their Homelands

Even in times of peace, we detect military personnel everywhere. On duty, in cities, they fulfill routine missions that require rigor and patience.
Castles and Fortresses

The World to Defense - Castles and Fortresses that Resist

Under threat from enemies from the end of time, the leaders of villages and nations built castles and fortresses. All over the place, military monuments like these continue to resist.
Beijing, China

The Heart of the Great Dragon

It is the incoherent historic center of Maoist-Communist ideology and almost all Chinese aspire to visit it, but Tianamen Square will always be remembered as a macabre epitaph of the nation's aspirations.
Magome-Tsumago, Japan

Magome to Tsumago: The Overcrowded Path to the Medieval Japan

In 1603, the Tokugawa shogun dictated the renovation of an ancient road system. Today, the most famous stretch of the road that linked Edo to Kyoto is covered by a mob eager to escape.
Nikko, Japan

The Tokugawa Shogun Final Procession

In 1600, Ieyasu Tokugawa inaugurated a shogunate that united Japan for 250 years. In her honor, Nikko re-enacts the general's medieval relocation to Toshogu's grandiose mausoleum every year.
Saint John of Acre, Israel

The Fortress That Withstood Everything

It was a frequent target of the Crusades and taken over and over again. Today, Israeli, Acre is shared by Arabs and Jews. He lives much more peaceful and stable times than the ones he went through.
Takayama, Japan

From the Ancient Japan to the Medieval Hida

In three of its streets, Takayama retains traditional wooden architecture and concentrates old shops and sake producers. Around it, it approaches 100.000 inhabitants and surrenders to modernity.
Suzdal, Russia

Thousand Years of Old Fashioned Russia

It was a lavish capital when Moscow was just a rural hamlet. Along the way, it lost political relevance but accumulated the largest concentration of churches, monasteries and convents in the country of the tsars. Today, beneath its countless domes, Suzdal is as orthodox as it is monumental.
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
Ogimashi, Japan

A Village Faithful to the A

Ogimashi reveals a fascinating heritage of Japanese adaptability. Located in one of the most snowy places on Earth, this village has perfected houses with real anti-collapse structures.
Marinduque, Philippines

When the Romans Invade the Philippines

Even the Eastern Empire didn't get that far. In Holy Week, thousands of centurions seize Marinduque. There, the last days of Longinus, a legionary converted to Christianity, are re-enacted.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Muktinath to Kagbeni, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Kagbeni
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit 14th - Muktinath to Kagbeni, Nepal

On the Other Side of the Pass

After the demanding crossing of Thorong La, we recover in the cozy village of Muktinath. The next morning we proceed back to lower altitudes. On the way to the ancient kingdom of Upper Mustang and the village of Kagbeni that serves as its gateway.
Architecture & Design

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
The small lighthouse at Kallur, highlighted in the capricious northern relief of the island of Kalsoy.
Kalsoy, Faroe Islands

A Lighthouse at the End of the Faroese World

Kalsoy is one of the most isolated islands in the Faroe archipelago. Also known as “the flute” due to its long shape and the many tunnels that serve it, a mere 75 inhabitants inhabit it. Much less than the outsiders who visit it every year, attracted by the boreal wonder of its Kallur lighthouse.
Moa on a beach in Rapa Nui/Easter Island
Ceremonies and Festivities
Easter Island, Chile

The Take-off and Fall of the Bird-Man Cult

Until the XNUMXth century, the natives of Easter Island they carved and worshiped great stone gods. All of a sudden, they started to drop their moai. The veneration of tanatu manu, a half-human, half-sacred leader, decreed after a dramatic competition for an egg.
Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
Bride gets in car, traditional wedding, Meiji temple, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

A Matchmaking Sanctuary

Tokyo's Meiji Temple was erected to honor the deified spirits of one of the most influential couples in Japanese history. Over time, it specialized in celebrating traditional weddings.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
M:S Viking Tor Ferry-Wrapped Passenger, Aurlandfjord, Norway
Flam a Balestrand, Norway

Where the Mountains Give In to the Fjords

The final station of the Flam Railway marks the end of the dizzying railway descent from the highlands of Hallingskarvet to the plains of Flam. In this town too small for its fame, we leave the train and sail down the Aurland fjord towards the prodigious Balestrand.
capillary helmet
Viti levu, Fiji

Cannibalism and Hair, Fiji Islands' Old Pastimes

For 2500 years, anthropophagy has been part of everyday life in Fiji. In more recent centuries, the practice has been adorned by a fascinating hair cult. Luckily, only vestiges of the latest fashion remain.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Santa Marta, Tayrona, Simón Bolivar, Ecohabs of Tayrona National Park
Santa Marta and PN Tayrona, Colombia

The Paradise from which Simon Bolivar departed

At the gates of PN Tayrona, Santa Marta is the oldest continuously inhabited Hispanic city in Colombia. In it, Simón Bolívar began to become the only figure on the continent almost as revered as Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Asparagus, Sal Island, Cape Verde
island of salt, Cape Verde

The Salt of the Island of Sal

At the approach of the XNUMXth century, Sal remained lacking in drinking water and practically uninhabited. Until the extraction and export of the abundant salt there encouraged a progressive population. Today, salt and salt pans add another flavor to the most visited island in Cape Verde.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Winter White
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Viewpoint Viewpoint, Alexander Selkirk, on Skin Robinson Crusoe, Chile
Robinson Crusoe Island, Chile

Alexander Selkirk: in the Skin of the True Robinson Crusoe

The main island of the Juan Fernández archipelago was home to pirates and treasures. His story was made up of adventures like that of Alexander Selkirk, the abandoned sailor who inspired Dafoe's novel
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Machangulo, Mozambique, sunset
Natural Parks
Machangulo, Mozambique

The Golden Peninsula of Machangulo

At a certain point, an ocean inlet divides the long sandy strip full of hyperbolic dunes that delimits Maputo Bay. Machangulo, as the lower section is called, is home to one of the most magnificent coastlines in Mozambique.
Guardian, Stalin Museum, Gori, Georgia
UNESCO World Heritage
Upplistsikhe e Gori, Georgia

From the Cradle of Georgia to Stalin's Childhood

In the discovery of the Caucasus, we explore Uplistsikhe, a troglodyte city that preceded Georgia. And just 10km away, in Gori, we find the place of the troubled childhood of Joseb Jughashvili, who would become the most famous and tyrant of Soviet leaders.
Ooty, Tamil Nadu, Bollywood Scenery, Heartthrob's Eye
Ooty, India

In Bollywood's Nearly Ideal Setting

The conflict with Pakistan and the threat of terrorism made filming in Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh a drama. In Ooty, we see how this former British colonial station took the lead.
Dunes of Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
bazaruto, Mozambique

The Inverted Mirage of Mozambique

Just 30km off the East African coast, an unlikely but imposing erg rises out of the translucent sea. Bazaruto it houses landscapes and people who have lived apart for a long time. Whoever lands on this lush, sandy island soon finds himself in a storm of awe.
Composition on Nine Arches Bridge, Ella, Sri Lanka
Yala NPElla-Kandy, Sri Lanka

Journey Through Sri Lanka's Tea Core

We leave the seafront of PN Yala towards Ella. On the way to Nanu Oya, we wind on rails through the jungle, among plantations in the famous Ceylon. Three hours later, again by car, we enter Kandy, the Buddhist capital that the Portuguese never managed to dominate.
Back in the sun. San Francisco Cable Cars, Life Ups and Downs
On Rails
San Francisco, USA

San Francisco Cable Cars: A Life of Highs and Lows

A macabre wagon accident inspired the San Francisco cable car saga. Today, these relics work as a charm operation in the city of fog, but they also have their risks.
Singapore, Success and Monotony Island

The Island of Success and Monotony

Accustomed to planning and winning, Singapore seduces and recruits ambitious people from all over the world. At the same time, it seems to bore to death some of its most creative inhabitants.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Daily life
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.
Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge, Bahia
Gandoca-Manzanillo (Wildlife Refuge), Costa Rica

The Caribbean Hideaway of Gandoca-Manzanillo

At the bottom of its southeastern coast, on the outskirts of Panama, the “Tica” nation protects a patch of jungle, swamps and the Caribbean Sea. As well as a providential wildlife refuge, Gandoca-Manzanillo is a stunning tropical Eden.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.