Day 1 of our Veteran’s Day weekend was a whirlwind! Once we left the Children’s Grand Park we headed over to DHL to get checked in and have a nice hot meal at one of the many restaurants before heading to the subway to check out the Lantern Festival.
The train was a quick ride with one connection stop to get to Cheonggyecheon Stream. No matter if it’s one connection or several it can easily get confusing. Especially when you have some of your group needing to use the elevator (strollers) and others take the stairs. You will easily get split up and may take awhile before meeting back up.
When we first got to the Lantern Festival we heard chanting from a distance and noticed a group of a few hundred people protesting on the other side of the stream. Than all of a sudden we see hundreds of cops walking along the side walk on our side of the stream across the streets from us with their riot gear and shields. No excitement by us though, they all just passed us by.
The Seoul Lantern Festival’s theme was “Seoul’s Roots: The Lifestyle of our Ancestors”, this year’s festival will highlight Seoul’s long history and many traditions. They had wish lantern-making and New Year lantern-making.
There was a hot air balloon that you could go in and get a small taste of what it’s like to ride in one. It would take you about 20 feet into the air and come back down.
The lanterns were beautiful. You could tell many long hours were putting into creating each one to tell a small part of Seoul’s history. It was neat to be able to walk along and learn a little bit of Korean history.
I was so surprised to see how long the kids had lasted – first a full day at the Children’s Park, then a few hours at the lantern festival. They sure were troopers keeping up with the adults, staying up WAY past their bedtimes and doing all that walking, especially Olivia!
Under one of the bridges they had some vendors that you could stop and check out. This is also where you could make a wish lantern and let it go down the stream, setting your wish free.
One of the vendor booths was a place that creates 3D figures of people and/or pets. You stand in the center of an area with 70 cameras surrounding you to get all angels to create the 3D figures. They let Olivia stand in and show us how it works. Of course we were both very intrigued being photographers ourselves.
Some of our favorite lanterns were the Dragon, I SEOUL YOU, and the colorful lantern with flowers. Olivia’s favorite was the “chocolate chip fish” in other words the spotted fish.
They even had a lantern of Mount Rushmore!
By this point we had lost a few soldiers from exhaustion. Ian was unconscious with daddy’s hat as a face mask. Olivia was hanging on by a thread. And Nataliya was her usual fierce self.
It was a busy day with over 17,00 steps, and walked more than 7 miles! We had a great time spent with old friends and new ones. Next year we will definitely plan on going to the Lantern Festival right at dusk so the kids aren’t so tuckered out.