This afternoon I headed out to take pictures of people ice skating in Gwanghwamun Plaza (click here to see the higher quality pictures on my flickr page).  It was still really cold outside, and with the wind chill factor it felt like it was -23 or so . . . in other words, it was VERY COLD!

There was still work being done on clearing the city streets of all the snow that had fallen (click here to see pictures of the heavy snow fall from this past Monday).

I was surprised to see some cars still had a thick layer of snow on top, lol.  I guess some people hadn’t bothered to clear off all the snow that accumulated from this past Monday.

The roads were a million times better for the scooter and motorcycle delivery guys.  I was amazed to see some of them working and driving this past Monday when the streets were extremely hazardous and covered with a lot of snow.

Walking along the a wall that leads to Changdeok Palace (click here and here to see pictures of the palace) I saw this leaf and icicle . . .

. . . and then I saw a cute couple walking down the street holding hands . . . awwww . . . aren’t they cute?

While walking to the plaza I kept my eyes out for any birds or animals that might be brave enough to come out in the very cold temperatures . . . unfortunately the only thing I saw were some large bird nests.

I really should have gone into Changdeok Palace earlier in the week but I felt that it was too cold and was hoping it would ‘warm up’ a little . . . I may still go tomorrow as Thursday is the one day of the week you can walk around on your own.  For now this sneak peak over the wall will have to do . . . but I do plan on getting more shots of the palace with snow!

All this week traveling in Seoul has been a little more difficult.  Subway line 1 actually had periods where it was down, and both Julianne and I were surprised by the big increase in numbers of people taking the subways due to the huge snow fall.  The buses were also having a hard time with the city street ice and snow conditions . . . but city workers and police have been working on it every day and things are looking like they’re a lot better now on the busier roads.

I have a lot of respect for the city workers who have to shovel all the snow.

I finally arrived at Gwanghwamun Plaza (see here and here for pictures of the 2009 Snow Jam) which is right across the street from Gyeongbok Palace.

I forgot to check and see how much tickets cost to go ice skating but I can’t imagine it’s expensive.  Arriving at the edge of the ice rink I was surprised to see several Koreans clinging to the railing that runs around the large rink . . . but I then realized that ice skating is not nearly as common in Korea as it is back in Canada, and that first time skaters usually stay close to the wall until they figure out the basics.

This guy seemed to be doing pretty well . . .

This guy . . . not so well, lol.

I noticed that many of the skaters had helmets on . . . it surprised me a little bit because adults usually don’t wear helmets when ice skating in Canada but again considering the fact that many skaters were probably doing it for the first time I could see the common sense behind wearing them.

Then I saw these fun sculptures.  I recognize them from Korean mythology but can’t name them off the top of my head.   I like the modern art style that’s been added here.

This guy was working HARD.  I’m not sure how much the bin weighed that he was pushing but from the look on his face I’d say it was very heavy.  I like taking pictures of the people who do the behind the scenes work at festivals and events cause without their help visitors would not be able to have a good time.

And then I saw the childrens’ ice rink area–fun!  This mom should get the “Mother of the Year” award for pulling her kids round and round and round the rink!!!

Then there’s this super-cutey!  She looked like she was having a great time.

I’m guessing younger sister being pulled by older sister . . . lol.

And here’s another of the modern art style sculptures I saw all around the rink.

I love the mountainscape that lies just behind Gwanghwamun Plaza and Gyeongbok Palace.  One thing I noticed when I first came to Korea in 2005 was that there are mountains EVERYWHERE–well, at least compared to where I come from in Canada (Ontario).

I’m not sure what this little guy was doing or thinking but you gotta love the intensity in his eyes, lol.

My last shot was taken standing in between two large changing areas where I think you can rent skates and helmets.  Christmas lights and decorations were still up and add a nice touch to the plaza’s ice rink atmosphere.

Even though it was really cold outside I enjoyed walking around and taking pictures, and I think the ice skaters weren’t even paying attention to the cold because I didn’t hear a single “choowa, CHOOWA!” (“It’s cold, it’s COLD!” in Korean) from the Koreans at the rink, lol.  For expats, like myself, who have been living in Korea for a number of years this is something that when absent is rather shocking because saying “choowa!” is like breathing for a Korean when it’s cold . . . and I didn’t hear it once . . . lol.

Well, tomorrow’s forecast says -23, feels like -30 for 9am . . . I’m hoping that the afternoon will ‘warm up’ so that I can go out again and take more pictures.

Wish me luck.