My day started out with a tour of the Jongmyo Royal Ancestral Shrine. This incredible structure offers a huge green space in the center of Seoul. It is the royal ancestral shrine of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) where spirit tablets of kings and queens are enshrined and memorial rites are observed in the Confucian tradition.
It is hard to describe the grandeur of these places. I can only imagine what they must be like when they are in use but for a mere 1,000 Won ($1) you can enjoy a stroll around the grounds and a tour of all the buildings.
Just outside the front gate was a Korean men's festival. I have no idea what they were celebrating but seemed like a lot of fun. I was the only foreigner there.
They had local artists doing scrolls in Korean script, musicians with traditional dress and instruments, and 25 or more pairs of men playing Korean board games.
They were playing Paduk and Korean Chess. It was fun to watch.
After Jongmyo, I went to Changgyeonggung which was originally the summer palace of the Koryo Dynasty and later the palace of Taejong who had abdicated the throne. Like every other major historical structure in Seoul, it was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion of 1592 and later rebuilt.