#tkgoesPyeongChang: The Journey begins

#tkgoesPyeongChang | 4 years of preparation and countless hours of development work are behind us, more than 8,500 km ahead of us. Together with my pit crew colleague Alex Meier and Julia Taubitz, the girlfriend of Toni Eggert, I will travel to South Korea and cheer for Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken on the ice track. What we experienced on our way to PyeongChang, you can read in my first travel log.

Annyeonghaseyo Seoul! Hello Seoul!

My trip to South Korea takes me alone from Düsseldorf via Helsinki to Seoul. There, at Incheon airport, I meet two other familiar faces before Alex and Julia: Soohorang and Bandabi – a white tiger and an Asian black bear.

Soohorang and Bandabi

They are the mascots of PyeongChang and welcome the travelers already on the luggage belt. As well on other places of the airport you will find many clues to the upcoming sporting event. For example, there is a separate passport control for participants and numerous information booths.

A little bit of home in the distance

Together with Alex and Julia, the trip takes us from the airport into the South Korean capital Seoul. At icy cold, we walk through the huge metropolis, where you can experience tradition and modernity side by side. Between skyscrapers you will always find small temples and traditional buildings.

Our goal: The AmorePacific headquarters, one of the city’s many skyscrapers – equipped with 42 thyssenkrupp elevators and escalators. Frozen, we marvel at the building from the outside and can find certain similarity to our headquarters in Essen.

The AmorePacific headquartersThe AmorePacific headquarters

Although it is Sunday, we can access the skyscraper and even test our escalators and elevators.

We go upstairs on an ordinary escalator and drive down with one of the 16 TWIN systems, in which two cabins can travel simultaneously in one shaft.

Tradition meets modernity

Our next stop will take us to the famous Gyeongbokgun Palace in the middle of the city. Between skyscrapers stands the traditional building, built in 1395 in the Joseon Dynasty.

Gyeongbokgun Palace

In front of the temple-like building are a few young Korean women in colorful dresses.

Gyeongbokgun Palace

Unfortunately, the palace has already closed, so we cannot visit it from the inside. On a square opposite of the palace several small booths are set up. Here we buy a small Soohorang cuddly toy for the travel backpack. Then we warm up at public viewing in one of the stands, 5,000m speed skating is broadcasted. The cold wind makes a longer stay outside almost impossible.

Heading to PyeongChang

After a short night and a breakfast in front of the skyline of Seoul, we head to PyeongChang. On the way we take a break on the biggest rest area in South Korea. At one of the small shops we find a typical Korean K-pop CD. Of course, this is a must for our travel backpack. After our stop, the landscape becomes increasingly hilly and snowier. According to Alex, the mountains still cannot compete with the Alps in Liechtenstein. Arrived in PyeongChang, we only briefly move into our accommodation. Then it’s off to the ice track. We want to watch Toni’s and Sascha’s training for the big day.

How the two come off in the decisive race, you will read in my next travel log. Or you just turn on TV: On Wednesday, Eurosport and ZDF broadcast the race live starting from 12:20 clock.

Stay tuned.

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