In the past 4 months that I have lived in Korea, it has been nothing but extraordinary! The really great and eventful trips (aka the ones with the most stories and pictures…) are the hardest for me to blog about. I find myself having writers block with too much to write. Today that has changed.
Wayy back in September, it was Chuseok Holiday. Jeff, Franki, Alex and I ventured up to Seoul to do some sight seeing. We took KTX from Daegu to Seoul which took about 2 hours. Seoul is the biggest city that I have even been in, so I was looking forward to a ‘big city’ feel. Unfortunately, instead all I got was a slap in the face by a monsoon. We arrive the day before Chuseok, and it just so happened to be the first day in over 100 years that Seoul had been hit so hard by rain. I am an Oregonian, so I know a thing or two about rain, but this was unlike anything I had ever experienced! I was absolutely miserable. We scurried to our hostel (The Open Guest House-highly recommended) where we found Franki and Alex anxious to venture out. We were not about to let the monsoon stop us from doing SOMETHING, RIGHT?!?!
Off to Seoul Tower we went. On the way I thought that A. We might die in the car from scary cab driver driving, B. We might die because there is a monsoon with thunder and lightening and we are going to the highest place with umbrellas standing in water and C. My feet were cold.
1st Seoul Tower. At the top of the Seoul Tower there was no visibility so we ate cafeteria food and contemplated our next adventure. Yes, we should try…
Jeff and I at Seoul Tower. We were there!!! We just couldn't see anything...haha
After wandering down flooding streets we decided to try a new angle…not outside possibly.
2nd. Virtually everything was shut down except for a couple of shops. Mainly the shops that sold Big Bang socks.
Jeff and Alex in the rain at Namdaemun Market.
3rd. Meyongdong shopping area. Not a whole lot of shopping happened here but Franki and I did discover a wonderful place that has cheap prices for t-shirts and sweatshirts! The rain was on and off during this time of day but we were ready to settle in somewhere. After a big dinner of pasta without bread sticks we headed to Itewon.
4th. Itewon. Every foreigner has heard of Itewon. It has a huge foreigner population and US bases are around there. In blogs and books (like the Lonleyplanet) they say that this place is so much fun and there is so much to do. Maybe I am just lame but it wasn’t my favorite place to be. If you like to go clubbing and to places such as the “Ginger Lounge” then this place is for you! Anywho, we went to Mad Dog Grill then Seoul Pub.
Thumbs up for Seoul Pub! Pitchers of CASS....
5th. Gyeongbok palace, Seoul. This palace is massive. It was Chusoek, so there were many people there to watch the traditional ceremonies that they show that day. It was amazing the wide array of people who were visiting- so many languages were overheard, I always wonder what their connection or desire is to be in Korea.
We arrived early and watched the show from beginning to end of the changing of the guards. My favorite part might have been the fake mustache and beards that the soldiers were wearing…. ^-^
Around the palace was a whole new world. Jeff was making connections to a book he was reading about South Korean history and battles that happened inside of this palace. We were walking around the same place where men have battled defending the King and these homes were homes of people who served the king- it was unreal.
This pond was my favorite part.
6th. Insadong Art Fair. Just down the street was Insadong Market. Insadong might have been my favorite place to be in Seoul this trip. It was calm, beautiful and full of great food.
The Dragon Egg that we waited in line for 25 minutes to eat. Delicious.
The Dragon Egg up close.
After the Art Fair we visited a temple near by and I learned a bit about Buddhism.
7th. Noryangjin Fish Market.
Only a picture can tell you about this place.
Noryangjin Fish Market.
Thats a crab...
Live octopus! Lunch...
Trolling around this huge market looking for fresh seafood takes farmers markets freshness to a whole new level. I do worry about the humaneness of the fish…I think some of the fish were blinded by the people who sell them. : (
We chose to eat for lunch this day:
1. 2 octopus
2. 2 crab
3. 4 oysters
We were laughed at a little bit when we went to the restaurant to get our food prepared because there was little food to prepare. IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE! It was so expensive that even 4 of us couldn’t afford to buy anymore food. Altogether for those 8 items its was close to $50.
Let me back up.
See here is how it works-
Step 1. Pick your food from a vendor. Pay them.
Step 2. The vendor brings you to THEIR restaurant.
Step 3. Tell them how you want your food prepared. PAY THEM TOO.
Step 4. Eat your food and your side dishes too!! Get all of your money’s worth!
Okay, so with that said there were extra costs that we were unaware of. I think that we paid a little bit for the experience and it was worth it, but just be warned that it is expensive.
- My friend Alex (Alex & Franki have a blog too and they featured a live video of Alex eating the octopus!!! Check it out!
8th. National Museum of Korea.
Korean cave men.
The museum was so large that we didn’t visit all of the exhibits. I do recommend visiting it though.
9th. Han River. Park???
Jannon on the Han River.
Hongdae was a blast! This was my first night in Korea that I witnessed people partying until the sun started to come up- it was insane. After grabbing dinner and dancing at S Club, we wandered into a park. Yes, a park with swings and a slide. From then on we were harmonizing with other Koreans and forgieners to such tunes as Build Me Up Buttercup.
Franki and I with the mascot for a (smoothie bar?) in Hongdae.
The coolest norebang I have ever seen!!!!!
11th. Korean War Memorial.
Jeff and I didn’t actually go into the museum- but there so much to look at just outside of it. The statues say so much and have so much emotion written all over their faces its hard not to feel something.
Korean War Memorial, Seoul Korea.
Korean War Memorial.
Korean War Memorial.
Our final destination was Anyang city, to visit friends from home- ❤ Anyang is a beautiful city and it showed us a very good time. Lana houses us in her Offictel- a big apartment! It even had its own shower and a heated toilet seat : ) We celebrated Jake’s birthday and the fact that we were all in South Korea! It was a perfect way to end our amazing trip!
Our farewell at the subway station!!!
That was our Seoul trip.