It was a very cold morning that day, much colder than the day before. We were going maybe an hour or more out of Seoul to visit the shooting set of the beloved Korean telenovela "Jewel in the Palace" ("Daejanggeum"). Not having watched this series before, I could not relate. However, the tour guide wisely played a DVD of this series highlights en route to the place. By the time we reached the set, we had already familiarized ourselves with the characters and the basic story. This way, the tour became more meaningful. (In fact, we would continue requesting Kris to play this 2-disc DVD through long stretches of the road trip, all the way up to the final day to the airport, haha!)
We saw the palace, the kitchen and dining room (where much of the drama took place), the jail, the village, even the spot where Janggeum's mother buried her prized persimmon vinegar!
For lunch, we ate in a traditional Korean restaurant in the city also called Daejanggeum. Unfortunately, they did not serve any of the exotic dishes described on the tv drama. We did have a fun time criticizing their food in the manner of the show's dialogue style. Their salad with grape dressing was fantastic! However, the tempura ginseng is as bitter as it sounds. But the meal as a whole was very good and filling.
In the afternoon, we headed out for the Seoul Tower. We rode a cable car up the mountain. Being winter, the views are rather bleak, but I can imagine how great this place must look during the summer or with fall colors. The Teddie Bear Museum was in the tower, but we did not have time for that. We just had some picture taking at the top viewing deck. We also caught briefly a martial arts show there before we left.
Tour took us to a shopping center called Cerestar, where there were some great sale items. We never even got out to the other shops when it was already time for dinner. We had ribs and chicken at Tony Roma's, which was probably the only meal where we did not have kimchi. There were some very colorful pieces of modern art in the lobby of the building where Tony Roma's was located.
After dinner, we watched a hilarious and exhilarating play called "Jump". Our tour group was seated in the front where we can see all the action up close. This play features very physical martial arts action and comedy, very fascinating to watch. The women behind me were also very funny, swooning over the guy who played the son-in-law. That segment with the robbers was really very funny! You can get more ideas on what Jump is about by watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APtiPUzqQL8 . But as usual, nothing beats the live performance!