We arrived in Seoul on Thursday. We were picked up from the subway by our Airbnb host and have settled into our place well. We quickly fell in love with our neighborhood, Hongdae, which is the university district of Seoul. Our first meal out was Korean BBQ, of course. We were wandering the streets of Hongdae and turned down an alley, where we saw a line, so we immediately got in it, not knowing what the food would be like. While waiting in line, we watched through the windows, and immediately started drooling. Here’s what we ended up with:
This food was bomb! We still don’t know the name of the place, and because you can’t really use Google Maps in Korea, we can’t link it. We’re planning to go back tonight, so I’m going to try to get more information.
The spicy level made Shawn glisten!!
We walked around the streets:
Okay, so on to the good stuff…
The following day, we headed into central Seoul to check out Changdeokgung Palace and the Secret Gardens. To be honest, the gardens were nice, but we were a little underwhelmed by this place.
We didn’t take a ton of shots because we weren’t totally that into this place, so sorry for the lack of photos. The fall leaves are pretty though!
The following day was a rest day. We went to a cafe and drank coffee (which is ridiculously expensive in Korea!) and read, resting our feet and just enjoying watching the locals. That night, we went to a local street and checked out the local eats. There are definitely huge food trends in Seoul, and we wanted to take part, so we decided to go for the “all-in-one dinner and drink for lounging in the park”. This thing is a giant cup full of beer, with a little tray sitting on top with steak, veggies, and french fries. Oh, and there’s room for a straw so you can sip your beer while eating.
On Sunday, we headed to Insadong prior to going to Gyeonbokdung. Check it out! We found a dropped pin!
Insadong was basically just shopping for Korean chotchkies. The one exciting thing was that we ate poop!
It started pouring on our way to Gyeonbokgung Palace, so I embarrassed Shawn by buying an umbrella. This was a huge deal for him because, as you may or may not know, NO ONE in Seattle uses umbrellas (us included). However, all over Asia, people love their brollies! They’re everywhere. And we weren’t prepared for rain. And it was about $2.50, and I wanted the experience and to mortify my husband, so I got one! (And he totally thanked me for it later, when he was miserable during a downpour.)
Gyeonbokgung! We loved this place! The fall leaves were beautiful and there were people in traditional Korean dress everywhere. Even with the rain, it was great! It’s like a giant maze of buildings and shrines with beautiful gardens and water features.
We highly recommend this place if you visit Seoul!
In general, we’ve been liking Seoul a lot. It’s hard to not compare it to Japan, though it is very different. After being here for five days, the word I think of when I think about South Korea and the Korean people is “joy”. Things seem joyful here. People are always laughing, smiling, showing affection to their loved ones. The traditional architecture even conveys this joyfulness with bright colors and designs. It’s inspiring and a breath of fresh air. The people seem happy and full of life. Despite the Korean War having left things in a tough place, in the time since, South Korea seems to have risen up like a phoenix.
Yesterday we did an incredible hike in Bhukansan National Park. The fall leaves were out in force, so it made for one of the highlights of the trip. Shawn is going to blog a specific blog post about it because it was absolutely spectacular, but for now, here are some teaser shots (note: I didn’t edit any of these!):