Random little anecdotes from a lovely little peninsula in the East (click the pictures for a larger image).
The streets of Insadong are laden with old shops and stands with goods from simpler times. Tea pots, scrolls, calligraphy supplies, and traditional foods are just a sampling of the wares to be found here. I really don't know what any of these foods are, but I feel like they'd go great in some all-natural home cooking. Yum.
More of Insadong, my favorite part of Seoul. A little touristy? Yes, without a doubt. But there's still a strong sense of culture to be enjoyed there. One thing that was a bit out of place but still beautiful were these lovely pashmina scarves. I wouldn't be caught dead in one, of course, but I enjoyed the beautiful colors and textures.
While wandering down one alley, I stumbled upon the Beautiful Tea Museum (also known as Tea Story). The teahouse itself is modeled in a traditional Korean architectural style, with an open air courtyard in the center where patrons are free to enjoy their tea. The lighting is soft and dreamy, dancing across the natural grain of the unstained wood. I practically stayed here all day, enjoying a steaming cup of yuja-cha and green tea-flavored tteuk.
Around the walls of the teahouse is the "museum" portion of the Beautiful Tea Museum. Tea pots and cups created by expert craftsmen, each once an objet d' art.
Annoyingly, this museum just showed me more things that I'll have to enjoy at some point in life.
There was so much more in Insadong that I was able to enjoy - receiving an after-hours tour of a sword museum (and playing with a good number of them), eating lots and lots of food, and watching calligraphy masters at work. But I don't have pictures to do those things justice, so I'll just have to keep them in my mind's eye for now.