Sadly leaving Japan behind, I am now enjoying a week in Seoul, Korea! The city is incredible, with everything from ancient (and remade after war) palaces to museums and parks, to lively night districts, and the world’s biggest e-sports scene. There is plenty to see here, so we’ve been walking all over and sort of picking things at random to go and see. And so far it’s been great!
Our first day we went over to Yongsan station to see the OGN E-Sports Stadium, where one of the world’s most popular video games, League of Legends, is played three nights every week to sell-out crowds of some hundreds. We managed to get fantastically lost, but had fun walking through a massive mall, and Lexi got to visit an H&M (which she’s always happy to do).
The next day, we set out walking to see renovated imperial palaces. We managed to find a free guided tour through the Gyeongbokgung Palace, and got to see the currently restored 30% of the original palace. It must have been massive to still be three times the size of what we saw, because the palace we saw was gorgeous and quite massive. Sitting in the shadow of two nearby mountains, the backdrop for the palace is also something to behold. This is the first city we’ve been in with mountains on the border, and it’s pretty awesome to see everyday.
In the evening we went back to the OGN Stadium in Yongsan to try to find some spare tickets to see a League of Legends game. Sadly we were unsuccessful in getting tickets, but we did get to peak inside the studio and see/hear the crowds. It seemed to be some 80% female spectators, and the screams of the audience when a player scored a kill confirmed that there were quite a few women there. It was weird to see so many women attending a video game competition, when usually you think of video game crowds as being male. But it was cool to see that many people out watching a League of Legends competition!
Fortunately, there are also cherry blossoms in bloom here in Seoul! As it’s been a couple of weeks since they first bloomed, many are starting to fall off. Even so, they are beautiful and it’s nice to have them in all of the cities we’ve been to in the past few weeks.