Tracey Emin, Tea and Eaves.

Nicholas Quirke was working to a plan 9th February 2020 and like any day in a strange city getting his bearings were going to be paramount. Although he was prepared to tackle the subway system, there were still local things he wanted to see that meant walking was his best option as they were only 3km away. He breakfasted again on strawberries, banana and walnuts and checked and organised himself for a day out, He now had a sim, which meant that he could be connected to the internet and follow City Maps like any reasonable traveller. He had his power Pack with him should the phone need recharging, finally feeling like he could control his world. The minute he swooshed out of the revolving hotel doors he felt like was in Camden Lock, or Brick Lane circa 1980. It was a street market, actually a vintage street market. He had a brief look around, but he was not intending to buy anything which made a search through the debris of South Korea’s citizens a fruitless one. He continued on his way to a Modern art gallery and then to rummage through the ghosts of the past at Changdeokgung, one of Seoul’s many royal Palaces, constructed in 1405. It was an interesting walk to get there, taking him across the fortress like remains of the city wall and through the meandering side streets of the city. He spotted a traditional tea house, which he promised himself he would return to and arrived at the gallery in what was another sunny day but with a definite winter chill. He did give a thought to family and friends getting ready to brace a winter blizzard at home in the UK. He was a little taken aback by the entry charge to the Arario Museum but was keen to see some art and he swallowed his parsimonious reaction and paid up. He was glad he did as it was an intense and unusual experience. The gallery was a narrow building with the art displayed in a number of rooms, some with tiny installations over 6 floors going up and then a further 6 floors in another building going down. He was interested to see contemporary Korean artists work as well a plethora of exhibits from the Young British Artists set. He was in particular moved by a work he had never seen by Tracy Emin of a quilt she made detailing the prejudice her Mother and Father received due to their interracial marriage. Its words were harsh and painful to see, though the message a simple and powerful one. It had felt a strangely claustrophobic experience, and he was relieved to back in the fresh and open air. The entrance price for the palace, a mere £1.95 when converted from the Korean Won of 3000, bought a smile to his a face and he set of to enjoy the beautiful buildings in their historic and beautiful surroundings, though he sadly noted that the secret garden, supposedly the most rare and beautiful space was closed. It didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for the exotically painted oriental constructions and found endless delight I’m the angles and colours of the eaves. He was intrigued by bthe number of people attired in the National Costume of South Korea and he asked to take a photograph of a couple he thought to be newly weds. It turned out that visitors dress up in the costumes to get that ‘special’ photograph. When his legs started to feel weary, and he remembered his promise to himself to eat properly he decided to go back to the tea house he spotted to get some refreshment. He was the only customer and was greeted with enthusiasm by the charming hostess. It was a such a joy to watch the tea sommelier brew his Green Tea in the traditional manner through the power of google, they managed to have a conversation. She offered him some refreshments, free, and produced some very light hollow confection which were delicious. Though he hoped after saying he was Vegan that they didn’t contain egg. As he was sourcing a local Vegan eating house, only a matter of minutes away, his phone battery started to fade. He was not worried as he had his power pack.; except he hadn’t remembered to pack a lead. He left the thought there and got on with finding the restaurant. he was looking forward to a hot meal. He arrived to discover they were selling only pastries and a quiche so he settled for the quiche and a cup of Mugwort Latte. It had to be tried. He found the taste quite pleasant considering it looked like a weed, though meant to stimulate the gastric juices. By the time he reached the hotel he was tired and a listless. He worked on his agenda for the rest of the week and gave some thought to a suggestion Peng had made about moving on from South Korea. Suddenly a new idea got hold of him and he found the energy and excitement to start making new plans. He realised, though not for the for the first time, that planning and seeing an idea come to fruition was something he truly loved and on his own, on the road, this was the most exciting thing he could be doing.


  1. Pleaaannns!! Hurrah. Though these photos are fabulous evidence of Korea’s potential for sightseeing… I thought I’d seen enough Cindy Sherman this year but I now realise not. Follow her on Instagram if you like that photo Nick. She’s a fun one…

  2. The statue of the man face down with structures on his shoulders is extraordinary! And the wall of teapots does look very comforting. Where are you off to next?

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