Buckhon Village (Hanok Village) – Back to the Past Adventure (Part 2)

It was Monday, most of the tourist spot we wanted to see were closed. Because We don’t have so much option to choose we decided to go to Bukchon Village, one of the hanok village in South Korea located in Seoul. Bukchon is located between two palaces, Changdeokgung on the east and Gyeongbokgung on the west. In the past, the village used to be upscale residential area for wealthy aristocrats and court employees.

From Non-hyeon station, we took Line 7 going to Bupyeong and went out at Express Bus Terminal station, then we transferred at Line 3 going to Daehwa and got off at Anguk station, ahead station before Gyeongbokgung. Our route from hotel is the same when we went to Gyeonbokgung Palace.

I was curious to visit Hanok Village because it’s the traditional residential area in earlier times of Korea, seeing these places excites me. From Anguk station, we walked at Gahoe-ru street, here we saw a building that it seems it’s a government office, until we realized it is the Constitutional Court of Korea. We continued our walk until we found Bukchon Jae-dong Tourist Information Center to inquire how we can go around Bukchon Village. Here they gave us instructions to go to Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center as start of our tour. We followed their instruction and walked along Bukchon-gil, we asked few people where is the exact location of the cultural center until we saw it on our own, it’s quite an adventure since we are not holding any map. Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center is a hanok, few hanoks are there and for me it is more of the tourist center than the first one that we inquired of. Here we were able to get maps of Bukchon Village. Every time I travel, I tried my best to buy souvenir. I always buy post cards, the lightest souvenir you can bring without any hassle. That’s what I did at the cultural center. After taking photos, we started our journey within Bukchon Village.

IMG_6277Constitutional Court of Korea

IMG_6280Corner of Bukchon-gil and Gahoe-ro

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Inside View of one of the hanok at Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center

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Bukchon2Vicinity area of Bukchon Traditional Cultural Center

IMG_6329We tried to follow the map. But were not able to follow it as is, because sometimes we were lost in the village until we find ourselves again based on the map. Here I will not tell the story based on the map but based on what we have seen so far inside the hanok village. From cultural center, we walked straight along Gyedong-gil (Alley) and from what I learned in the map guide, this alley is one of the original streets that already existing during Joseon period. This is one of the street that still remaining the same as before (of course the looks are different nowadays but what I am saying is the alley itself). In this street we saw coffee shop, art shops and stores in hanok which is unique, because the traditional ambiance of the place can still be felt. We found the guest houses along the alley as well. One significant hanok is the Bukchon Guest House which is before called as Bae Ryum’s House in Gye-dong. We walked up to the top end of the alley where we reached Changdeokgung-gil alley. Here we saw Choong Ang Middle and High School. Along Changdeokgung-gill alley while facing the school we decided to turn right even we saw that the alley is ascending.

IMG_6331Gyedong-gil (Alley)

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IMG_6381Some of the hanoks that we found while touring Bukchon Village

The walk was not easy, the three of us really tired when we reached the top of the alley and from the top we saw that the end of the alley is descending. Well, all of us were laughing because we were tired and we haven’t seen so much yet. At the corner of the alley, there is hanok that seems to be interesting based on the map guide that we have in our hand. We found the Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine, but we haven’t seen much because we heard that there is on going lectures inside the hanok and we avoid to disturb the session that is running, we just took photos outside the hanok. This is the place as the 2nd view in 8 views that can be found inside Bukchon. From here we followed some smaller alleys nearby until we saw interesting modern hanok building. We realized that the building is Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong. At the gate, there is a guard and told us that we cannot enter in the building since its closed (because its Monday).

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Institute of Korean Royal Cuisine

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photo 3Baek Hongbeom’s House in Wonseo-dong

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This one seems one of the wall gate in Changdeokggung Palace (though not really sure),
based from map, the area is near in historical laundry site

After walking around the area, we decided to go back at the school where we turned right so we can check what’s next to see. With the map guide we have, we followed the tracks of 8 views, though there are other tracks, but we chose the views track to continue our walking adventure inside Bukchon. 1st view was out of our current track because it is near in traditional cultural center and we were far from where we stand that time. What we found next was the 3rd view, we followed the map, we lost and we tracked again, until we found it, the 3rd view was from the Han Sangsoo Embroidery same with other hanok we never able to see what’s inside it and for some reason we were not allowed to go inside.

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photo 4Han Sangsoo Embroidery

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IMG_6390After taking some photos at Han Sangsoo Embroidery, we continue to proceed to the next site view. We used again the map to locate where it is. Until we found Donglim Knot Workshop. Then we strolled in Gahoe-saesak-gil alley until it reached the end. Next, we crossed the Gahoe-ro street. We walked again, but this time it’s along Bukchon-Hanok-gil alley. We walked until we found the 5th View which is Gahoe-dong alley. So far, from the time we started walking around Bukchon Village, this is one of the area that I like, I can really feel that we are inside the Hanok Village. And we are not the only one who enjoyed this alley, most of the tourist comes, they enjoyed it too. We took our time to take photo shots from the bottom (5th View) and from the top (6th View) of the alley, both ends offer great and different views. Before returning at the bottom of Gahoe-dong, we tried to find another way, until we found the 7th View which is the 31 Gahoe-dong.

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IMG_64045th View at Gahoe-dong alley (below)

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IMG_64066th View at Gahoe-dong alley (top)

IMG_64177th View – 31 Gahoe-dong

We ended our walking tour in Bukchon and we decided to go back since we were tired walking at sunny afternoon. We walked again along Gahoe-ro to reach Angguk station again. This is how we ended our Bukchon Tour.

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Gyeongbokgung (Palace Greatly Blessed By Heaven) – Back to the Past Adventure – Part 1

It was the first day of our adventure, we had our breakfast from the hotel and went straight to our first destination – Gyeongbokgung Palace. I found this palace from the travel book that I bought when I was in Sydney. The book titled “Top 10 Seoul”.  We arrived at the palace by taking metro train from hotel. From Non-hyeon station, we took Line 7 going Bupyeong and went out at Express Bus Terminal station, then we transferred at Line 3 going to Daehwa and get off at Gyeongbokgung station. We felt excited seeing some of the photos of the palace on our way. We passed the National Palace Museum and walked at the side gate (Yongseongmun) of the Palace from the Museum. We saw a lot of tourist taking pictures and I felt great to be in this place. My mom and my sister immediately posted their selves for a photo shot. I am the one who brought the DSLR camera, and most of the time I am the one who take pictures which I like because I wanted to capture a lot of things if possible, everything that my eyes see.

When we entered a small gate at the left side of the palace, we saw a ceremony that was being performed. Though I never understand what was happening at first until I learned it later of the day that it was the Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance. We enjoyed the show because of the colorful costumes the royal guards re-enacting the performance.

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Gwanghwamun Gate Guard-on-Duty Performance

We went to the tourist ticketing area, we bought ticket and brochure guide that we need in our tour. From the guide in my hand, I learned that the main gate is called Gwanghwamun. Based from history this gate is the main gate and south gate of the palace. The next gate we passed is called Heungnyemun (first gate inside the palace walls at the front). This is the gate where tickets are being checked. We saw a small bridge called Yeongjegyo. We walked again until we reach another gate which is called Geunjeongmun. Finally we saw the huge hall named Geunjeongjeon. Based from our brochure, this is the main throne hall where most of the King’s official state affair is happening during Joseon dynasty.

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Gwanghwamun Snapshots

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Heungnyemun Snapshots

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Geunjeongjeon (Outside Snapshots)

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Geunjeongjeon (Interior Snapshots)

Next buildings we saw are just behind of Geunjeongjeon is Sajeongjeon. As far as I remember, the middle of the building are still in restoration. While its side building on the west is Cheonchujeon and on the east is Manchunjeon which seems completely restored, while long corridors that connects these two side buildings to Sajeongjeon is not yet rebuilt.

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Sajeongjeon (Interior Snapshot – Currently being renovated)

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Some shots at west building beside Sajeongjeon called Cheonchujeon

Then we moved to the famous building near the lake called Gyeonghoeru Pavilion. This is the place where most of the banquets in the palace were happened before. This is the famous place where most of the Historical drama of Korea were shot. The settings of the Pavilion is somewhat romantic, it is great scenery where the King and its lovers (either the queen or concubine) probably had a great time for themselves.

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Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

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Pond at Gyeonghoeru Pavilion

We walked outside the wall of the Pavilion until we saw another gate leading to an open space with mountain. I really like the place, I can understand why the royal family has palace located on this place, for me its a great place for great view of the mountain. We walked straight until we saw the Janggo. Here we found a lot of Jars seating on the terrace. The jars contain fermented paste and soy sauce which is the traditional way of fermentation in South Korea.

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Outside View after passing Gyeonghoeru Pavilion beside Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang

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Jars at Janggo

At the front of Janggo, there is a nearby building and its vicinity called Hamhwadang and Jipgyoengdang. Based from the information of my handbook guide, that this place is the queen’s living quarters, residence known as Heungbokjeon and facilities for concubines and court ladies.

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Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang (Outside view from Janggo)

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Hamhwadang and Jipyoengdang (Some internal view snapshots)

We moved on to the next vicinity in the palace until we found a square pond called Hyangwonji and we saw islet in the middle of the pond and there standing the small pavilion called Hyangwonjeong. The setting of this place for me is similar to Gyeonghoeru pavilion, very romantic. While reading the guide, I realized that this small pavilion is the place where Queen Myeongseong (queen of King Gojong) killed by the Japanese.

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Hyangwonjeong (Pavilion) and Hyangwonji (Pond)

We went next to Jibokjae and its vicinity area. This the place where you can find building with the design of Qing Chinese style. Jibokjae was moved from other palace (Changdeokgung) after King Gojong returned to Geoncheonggung. Jibokjae has become King’s residence, library and reception hall for foreign envoys.

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Parujeong, Jibokjae and Hyeopgildang snapshots

There is one of the two vicinity areas that we missed to visit. One is Taewonjeon. We passed this one because we thought that another ticket is needed and there are still other parts of the palace that we haven’t seen. That’s why we decided to come back there if we still have time but unfortunately, we were not able to come back.

After Jibokjae area, we went to the vicinity area just beside the pond. It is called as Geoncheonggung, they say that this building is the only building with “gung” on its name which means palace, that is why they call it as palace within the palace and this is King’s Gojong’s residence where both the King and Queen has their own quarters and library.

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Jangandang at Geoncheonggung(some external snalshots)

IMG_5861Jangandang Internal Snapshot

Beside the Geoncheonggung, we found another interesting site which is called Jaseondang, which is a residence of the crown prince and princess. We saw the site because the building was destroyed, as per handbook the building was dismantled and brought to Japan,  then returned to Korea, but the materials were not usable anymore to rebuilt or restore the building.

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Aside from Jaseondang site, we also found another site which is called Gwanmungak. This is the first modern building in Korea but has been destroyed as well when Japanese invade Korea.

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IMG_5879Gwanmungak site

We continued our stroll inside Gyeongbokgung Palace, until we found another vicinity called Jangyeongjeon. This was the residence of Queen Dowager Jo. She is the queen who put King Gojong as the king, she is also a regent at that time when King Gojong was still young. From this location you can see from a far the National Folk Museum.

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Jangyeongjeon (Internal Snapshots)

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National Folk Museum From near Jangyeongjeon

Next vicinity we passed by are Gangnyeongjeon and Gyotaejeon. Gangnyeongjeon is the King’s living quarter, where he reads, rest and sleep, while Gyotaejeon is the queen’s main residence. In the same vicinity we found as well the Amisan garden with beautiful chimneys.

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Amisan Chimney Garden at the back of Gyotaejeon

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Some snapshots of Gyotaejeon vicinity area

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Gangnyeongjeon

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Gangnyeongjeon vicinity

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Building besides Gangnyeongjeon

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Gangnyeongjeon Internal Snapshots

And then we looked around the area of Heumgyeonggak and Hamwonjeon. This area serves as building for most of the royal household, scientific inventions can be found here during Joseon dynasty.

The second vicinity area that I think we missed to see is Donggung. I checked all the photos that I have and it seems we never been there, but I recall that there is ongoing renovation happening beside Gangnyeongjeon where Donggung is nearly located.

We went back where we started our tour and took a lot of photos. Another area we found is Sujeongjeon where there is a nearby restaurant and wash room. Based from Handbook, that Sujeongjeon  was formerly known as Jiphyeonjeon or Hall of Worthies where the Hanguel, the Korean Alphabet was invented under King Sejong.

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Sujeongjeon

With the three of us, my mom, my youngest sister and myself, I enjoyed the whole walking tour. Maybe because I was fascinated with Korean History and I can relate because of so many historical dramas that I watched. I felt like it is a living history, though I am aware that most of the buildings are restored or rebuilt because most of them has been destroyed either by fire or by Japanese invasion. But still, the replica is so detailed that you can feel those buildings and structures are for real. I am excited to see the another palace.

We went outside the Gyeongbokgung Palace through Gwanghwamun gate and we cross the road and walked in the middle of Sejong-Daero road and there we found the Sejong Center at the ground floor.  Because we are quite tired walking for long hours inside the palace, we walked a little bit to see what’s inside the Sejong Center. And there we found a lot of things about King Sejong, though I am familiar that King Sejong is the king of Jeoson where the Korean Language and Alphabet had been invented, for what I know, King Sejong is one of the Great King that South Korea is recognizing today. I remembered that I watched two historical dramas during his reign, one is Deep Rooted Tree and one is Sungkyunkwan Scandal.

IMG_6062King Sejong Portrait

Sailing With Enterprize

Trying to search what I can see and do in Melbourne because I know that I will be in the city temporarily. For what I know I will stay in Melbourne until May this year. With that sole reason I even checked for adventures that can be done after office hour. I found a unique but short adventure that does not need me to pack my stuff, no need for accommodation and not so far away from the city.

I searched online and discovered that there is available classic sailing with Enterprize Tall Ship, Enterprize a classic timber vessel that looks like 100 years old, what I mean is it was like a vessel came from 19th century. I never experienced sailing before and definitely not yet experienced to be on boarded in an 19th century ship. My curiosity lies not only in the places that I will be able to see during the cruise but also lies in the ship itself. I checked the website of Enterprize and then booked my tour two weeks before the schedule. Sailing schedule has been set already in their website and all I did was choose the date of the sail and the type of the sail.

I cruised last Friday, March 08, 2013. The meeting place was in Waterfront City Promenade at Victoria Harbour in Docklands Melbourne. After my work that day, I went straight to the meeting place. I arrived at Victoria Harbour and looked around the area if I can see the classic ship nearby. Looking at the time that it’s almost up for the cruise, I worried that I maybe waiting in wrong docking area. I called the person that I was talking previously to confirm my sail and responded with assurance that the sail was not yet started. While talking on the phone, that was the time that I saw the Enterprize. It was a relief that I was waiting in the right place.

I waited in the promenade until the ship stop at the wharf. It is true that Enterprize is a tall ship, at first I thought it was really a small vessel but when it halt in the docking area, I can say it was a tall one. Before I come to sail, I went to Melbourne Visitor’s Centre (I used to visit this one to check where else I can go around Victoria) and I found a brochure about Enterprize Melbourne Tall Ship. One thing that surprised me after reading something in the brochure that the Tall Ship is managed by a non-profit organisation because I thought they were like a tour company that gives unique experience to the people who joined the sail and the crew are volunteers. I learned that this non-profit organisation are assigned to preserve and to promote a significant part of Melbourne’s history. Enterprize has a huge part of Melbourne’s past because it was the ship that used by the people who started settlement in Melbourne in its early days. I found out as well that the original ship was made during 18th century in Hobart (city in Tasmania) and the ship that we will on boarded  is a replica of the Enterprize.

The ship was ready and people who scheduled to sail that night on boarded the ship. I felt excited because two things that I experience that night, one is cruising or sailing and the other one is hopping on the historical and classic ship. The crew of the vessel talked about the Enterprize and took care of us in the whole journey. The sail begun and from the ship, I saw Victoria Harbour in a different angle. I enjoyed the scene all the way from the harbour. I knew that the sail will not really going far because it was just 1.5 hours voyage. At the trip, I met two Indian ladies who are twins and born in Australia, they are look asian but their accents are not anymore. They were the people who I grouped with along the journey.

P1070264Enterprize

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P1070283Inside the cabin of the ship

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P1070269Leaving Victoria Harbour in Docklands

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P1070287On our way to Bolte Bridge

P1070291With the sunset view on the way

The sail was from Victoria Harbour in Docklands up to before we reach the West Gate Bridge. I remembered I asked one of the crew in the ship why a lots of ferries are passing the ship (what I meant that time was the ship was not fast) and he answered me that we’re not traveling, we’re sailing, that very moment I realised the difference of traveling and sailing.

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P1070300Rigging Climb of Enterprize

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West Gate Bridge

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P1070309Snapshots of surrounding area 
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P1070318Limelights of Victoria Harbour

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During the sail, people on board like me given an option to help the crew during the cruise or do the rigging climb. At first I did not took any of the options, but in the end I chose to climb the rigging of the ship. I was nervous but I was looking up for it that was why I wore rubber shoes that time. Before I did the climb, the crew helped me prepared to wear the harness for my safety. And then, another crew helped me during the climb. I took my time while going up and took some time to at the top of the rigging to feel the wind and to see the surroundings from above. All in all it was a great experience.

I went down the rigging and we were on our way back to the harbour. During those period, since it’s night, I took photos of Victoria Harbour on its lime lights.

I enjoyed my first ever sailing adventure.

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P1070377Public Art Display at New Quay Promenade beside Waterfront City Promenade
entitled “Silence” after returning from Enterprize sail

Royal Alberta Museum – Edmonton (Part 8)

I started to write my story about this place, it’s almost a year that had been passed. But was not able to publish it in my blog immediately.
I visited Royal Alberta Museum same day when I went around Edmonton City, it was Saturday – June 7, 2008 . The tour I had that day started early in the morning, I also visited that day were Muttart Conservatory (just the vicinity area since it still under renovation), West Edmonton Mall, Alberta Aviation Museum, Government House and some historic places in Edmonton such as 24th Street. Well I considered that day as my Edmonton Day Tour.
Captured outside the museum
Captured inside the museum

For this article I will be focusing what I did and what I found in Royal Alberta Museum. Just additional information before I continue telling my story, after I visited two royal museums such as Alberta and British Columbia (in Vancouver), I quite understand that it seems that there might be another province in Canada that have their own royal museums. After checking in internet, I just found out that there is one in Saskatchewan and Ontario province. After I learned that, I felt good that at least I was able to visit two royal museums in Canada.

As far as I remember, it was more than an hour left when we went to Royal Alberta museum and it will be closed (the reason was, we visited other places and I never realized that museum’s will be closing that so soon). Because of tight schedule, we were so aware about the time but honestly, while looking to each exhibit in that museum, how I wish I have more time.

There are two levels in Royal Alberta museum. First level has portion where you can see lots of wild animals that had been preserved in some ways, they call it “Wild Alberta”. And for me, seeing those animals in up close and personal (although they are not moving anymore) was one of my amazing experience in that museum. There are lots of animals I saw in that gallery. I wish I can take pictures of all of them but that is impossible with short period of time that we had. The second level, composed of the gallery of Aboriginal Culture where you can see the earlier history of Canada. While in another room, you can view the Natural History Gallery for their beautiful stones and historic fossils.

Without further ado, lets begin my short journey in one of the beautiful museum I visited in Canada.

Wild Alberta

There are different kinds of zones in Wild Alberta.The following zones are: Borreal Forest Zone, Prairie Zone, Parkland Zone, Mountain Zone and Water Zone.

In Borreal Zone, I was quite exciting because I saw beaver that I felt like they were so real. I saw beaver while traveling in Banff but I am very far from it. Unlike in the exhibit I saw them closely and found how cute they are c”,). I also found some caribou, wolf, moose, pelican and grouse. And even I have less time to see it, I still take my time to take pictures of some animals there.

Beaver

In Prairie Zone, I had fun enjoying the view of eagles. The museum exhibits different kinds of eagles. And eagles are the raptors that I really admire. The other animals I saw were: coyote, mule deer and prong horn. I also post with huge bison, the animal that I can’t believe with an amazing size.

Coyote
Bison


Brown Bear

In Parkland Zone, I found birds and swans. This is the zone where the animals you can see in Borreal and Prairie were mixed. In this place, I enjoy the different sounds of birds tweeting in my ears. And most of the sounds soothes my ears. It’s really different in a place like nature, the only difference of the museum to the nature, animals through dioramas are enclosed in glasses and not in motion.

In Mountain Zone, I found the mountain lion which similarly look like a tiger. Honestly without notes at the front of diorama there, I will really think they are tiger. Other animals that I saw were bighorn sheep, grizzly bear and mountain goat.

Lion

Bighorn Sheep
Mountain Goat Kid

And in Water Zone, I saw different fishes that was enjoyable to watch but since I have limited time, I was not able to capture some photos from this area.

Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal Culture

When I visited this part of the museum, I totally understand who were the first people lived in Canada. They call them “First People” or “First Nation”. While in this gallery it reminds me that this huge country of Canada has similarities in my own country Philippines when it comes to the first people. The way they live their life, like hunting is amazing. And the way they survive in the winter season. I saw a lot of unique stuff of Canada history.

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Husky during winter season

I saw the old snow shoe and that was awesome. Then I saw the clothes that the “First Nation are wearing during winter. I was able to see the ancient tools they used for living like rocks. The life that first people did to survive during ancient times such as Bison hunting. Even the kind of shelter that they live in. I remember when I visited Fort Edmonton Park, and thinking the Fur Trading Era. It connects everything. Seeing a very old and unique stuff were wonderful. The gallery showcased the artifacts of history from Ice Age up to the modern times of Canada specially in Alberta. It’s really worth to know the Alberta history and of Canada as a whole.

Natural History Gallery


Since we just have few minutes left before the museum close, we tried to visit this gallery as much as we can. But even I tried to view all those stuff displayed, I still amazed and I can’t stop admiring the things I saw in this gallery. I took a lot of time, viewing the wonderful stones displayed. Every stones displayed there, struck me and I can’t believe I am seeing it.






Photos above are snapshot of different stones from a video since
I don’t have good photos of these magnificent rocks

Then, I saw the fossils display in the gallery where you can find the dinosaur bones located at the side of the room.




Dinosaurs bones and fossils

Photo snapshot from video
to see inside the gallery

For me everything I saw in the museums are made of artwork and passion for history. I hope you enjoy the little story I had when I visited Royal Alberta Museum last June 2008.