Hwaseong Haenggung Palace 화성행궁

Suwon is a city outside of Seoul completely immersed in history and culture. A friend and I went for a day trip. While there are plenty of things to do in Suwon for this trip we didn’t manage to do much, owing to my utter exhaustion about half way through the day.

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Hwaseong Haenggung Palace wasn’t a palace used constantly, it was where royalty fled during war or visited for special events.

The highlight though wasn’t so much the palace but that on Saturdays at 2pm they have free performances outside of the palace.  We watched several musical performances before we got to the main event, which rotates on different weeks. What we watched was 줄타기or Jultagi, the traditional Korean art of tight rope walking. There are 40 different Jultagi techniques, all of which are accompanied by music and either conversation or story.

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As you can see there are several people in traditional hanbok playing instruments to accompany the tight rope walker, the one on the end blocked by the pole held a conversation with the tight rope walker as part of the show. He’s been a tight rope walker since he was 9 years old.

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Even though I couldn’t understand the story or conversation I was still able to enjoy the performance and it was a lot of fun.

After the show we explored a bit more of Suwon and I made a traditional sweet at one of the many many stalls nearby. I made 뽑기 (ppopgi) which is an old fashioned candy made mostly of sugar. I melted the sugar, mostly by quickly stirring until the ladies at the shop deemed it good enough, then they added a couple more ingredients, stirred faster than I had been and poured it out for me to flatten with my choice cookie cutter. 

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I picked a bunny. I then went into the shop and with my friends’ help tried to use toothpicks to break free the little bunny without damaging it. Which is pretty difficult. If you manage it the shop keepers will give you another for free, which has always been the tradition. The bunny didn’t survive but I got to watch some very invested kids nearby conquer it and rush off to get their free one. The candy is very sticky, and reminded me of the taste of cotton candy, incredibly sweet and sugary. It stuck to my teeth for quite awhile.

I was pretty exhausted from the heat, crowds, high dust level, and just all around general tiredness that we didn’t do much else, but there’s a ton more to do in Suwon so I plan to go back and try again.

 

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