April 1, 2005

Libera's Korea Diary (2)

Editor's note: Libera's Korea Diary is a special report by Club Balcony, the official event organizer for Libera's South Korea concerts. Korean to English translation by Inna.

The day after finishing the concert at Chungmu Art Hall on March 31st was probably the most anticipated day for Libera because it was the only day to take a rest and tour in their week-long stay in South Korea. On the morning of April 1st, the boys gathered around and you could still see the excitement from last night's concert. It looked like their enthusiasm of being on the first Korea -and also the first international- concert passed on to today's sightseeing. From early in the morning, their joyful chatter continued. Hoping Libera's day is as sunny as the weather outside, we started the Korea tour day.

Libera's 'Korea tour' program consisted of Gyeongbokgung Palace, Namsan Tower, Han River Cruise and dinner. On the coach ride, the boys were all glued to windows and absorbed outside. They seemed amazed by dynamics of Koreans in the morning. While trying to remember different pieces of Korea, they arrived at the first tour spot, Gyeongbokgung Palace.

It must have been a popular time for school field trips. There was a lot of Korean students around the boys' age. Libera arrived a little before 10AM so while waiting for the palace gate to open, they showed a great interest in the royal guards. Ed thought the royal guards looked rather frightening and hesitated to take a picture with them. He also asked how sharp their swords are. As the ceremony of changing the guard began, Libera entered the palace. 

Libera followed Gyeonbokgung Palace's official tour route. At each spot, they took pictures and did on-spot interviews. In front of Gyeonghoeru Pavilion, they all held up 10,000 Korean Won notes and took a picture. In the mean time, Steven, two Joe-s and Tom appeared in their new costumes. All eyes of tourists followed them since they all looked so great in traditional attires for bureaucrats and kings. Moreover they did all kinds of fun poses every time someone took a picture, everyone including the boys themselves and people around them had a pleasant time.

Before moving to the next spot, the boys went all busy and then each had souvenirs in their hands. The boys especially liked traditional fans, traditional groom dolls and short pipes! Before leaving the Gyeongbokgung Palace, they took a short break at a playground in front of Children's Folk Museum. As expected, Libera boys went directly to the traditional playground sets (rolling hoops, jumping ropes and Chinese chess) and tried them out. Soon they found similarities between the Korean traditional playground sets and that of the British. Jake and Callum delightfully explained how to jump rope and play chess. With their faces reddened from doing jumping ropes, the boys of Libera left Gyeongbokgung Palace. Conor, who has a great interest in architects, picked Gyeongbokgung Palace the most memorable spot of the day.

We arrived at Namsan Tower. Since the nearby area was under construction, we could only go halfway to the tower. However the boys seemed excited to look down at the sight of Seoul from a cable car. In their cable car journey, Michael particularly stood out. From departure Michael began his never-stop live broadcasting. Michael's energy rose as altitude rose and by the end of the cable car ride (at some point, we could only hear Michael's voice) he seemed so down that it's over that we felt that we should give him another ride. The boys said that in England, there aren't many places where you can see the whole city at one glance. They said it was an uncommon and great experience.

Han River Cruise was the last sightseeing of the day. The temperature was getting low in the evening but since the idea of cruise itself was already so exciting, the boys all sat at the tip of the cruise and enjoyed the ride by taking pictures and interviewing each other. At the end of the ride, they all sat inside around Robert. They exchanged all the fun memories of the day and Libera's 'Korea tour' day has come to an end.

Despite the all-day sightseeing, Libera didn't seem tired at all. On the coach ride back to their hotel, they talked about things they saw and learned. Somehow they looked even more energized than in the morning, except for the Robert with 'infinite kindness' who spent all day as a tourist and a chaperon.