Wednesday we decided to check out Changdeok Palace.  When we first left I was worried because I forgot to take my sunglasses.  Not that it mattered once we got there.  We arrived and bought our tickets and noticed it was getting cloudy.  Then we were waiting for our tour to start annnnd it started thundering.  So far no rain, so no big deal…then as we were ready to start our 2:30 tour of the beautiful and well known Secret Garden behind the palace it starts to rain…hard. Since I had been preoccupied with my sunglasses I definitely wasn’t worried about an umbrella. So, Andy and I were getting soaked but decided to keep on with the tour anyway.  Then a really nice lady offered us a spare umbrella she had to share.  So we weren’t quite so wet.  It stopped raining by the end and we decided that the rain, while annoying, was actually kind of nice in the garden setting.  It added something so the whole experience.

The garden really is the main draw in of this particular palace. It is built into the side of a mountain.  It was the gardens used for the king and royal women.  All of the buildings are situated in a way to make you gain new perspectives and think about all of the ways something can be viewed.    It was really peaceful.

This is a royal library.  Sadly, you can’t go inside and see that fact for yourself.

Little place on the pond.

rain, rain, rain. oh and more rain.

One of the servants quarters…I think.

pretty little gateway.

This was one of the buildings that really focused on perception.  From one angle you can tell it is a fan shaped roof, however if you stand in front of the other buildings you can’t tell the shape at all.

And unless you are looking at this building in this way you can’t tell that this building has a triangle shaped roof.

little pond guy. The other side of this showed a pond that is shaped like the Korean peninsula.

Koreans had this thought that fountains defy the natural law and flow of water.  Water flows downward not up, so there are no fountains in older settings, instead they would create waterfalls.

This thatch roof building has something to do with the harvest and the king’s involvement. Sadly, I couldn’t really hear our tour guide at this point.

As you leave the gardens you are directed to look at this tree.  It is a 700 year old tree that was given by the Chinese.  It is one of the oldest and original things on the grounds.

Since the rain had stopped we decided to take a gander around the palace.  It looked a lot like the other palaces.  It is a law in Korea that the buildings be repainted and maintained every 30 years.  Also, most of the buildings are put together in this lego style.  They do not use any nails, the wood supports itself.

This is the main coronation hall at this palace.

and the inside.

and then the rain came with a vengeance.  It was pouring soooo hard.  Andy and I were sitting on this ledge waiting it out and across the walkway was a Korean tour group. It was kind of awkward and funny.  Finally the rain let up and instead of pushing our chances we just went back to the subway station and headed home.

The gardens were really beautiful and I am pretty sure I will try and check them out again in the fall right before I leave.