After going to language school for 5 weeks in Fukuoka and volunteering as a WWOOF-er for 3 weeks in Ukiha, I traveled with a friend from language school. Our first destination was Seoul, where we would stay for 3 days.
Our trip started a bit painful, but with the help of some kind locals our problem was solved fast. We hadn’t booked any accommodation beforehand, and had only a few addresses of hostels in Hongdae, the area around Hong-ik University. After trying to find these places and asking Koreans for help (they were too scared to speak English so they were quite useless), we were getting desperate and at that moment this kind Korean asked us if they could help us. Our savior! Thanks to these kind people, who -by coincidence- also owned a hostel, we found a place to stay.
The owners of this place were a kind couple with a dog, who actually lived in the hostel (which made it a bit awkward because the man stayed up until 3 at night to watch TV, in the room right next to where we were trying to sleep). This couple and a friend of them invited us for a picnic at the Han-river.
Before that, we went out to search for food. My friend wanted to find real Korean food, but we couldn’t really find anything that wasn’t expensive. And that’s when our second savior of the day showed up! While we were confusedly looking for food, a woman noticed us and asked us what we were looking for. She kindly helped us and thanks to her we found a nice place to eat. I tried to tell my friend that what she was ordering would be enough for the two of us, but she wouldn’t believe me and told me to order something for myself. When the food came, she realized it was indeed enough to feed two mouths but it was too late to cancel my order of course. In the end we didn’t even eat half of the food, which was rather a pity.
After this we went along to the Han-river for a picnic. We had a nice conversation with the couple’s friend, who was Swedish. But we were happy when the time came to go home, because their picnic lasted until 2 am! We went to bed immediately and woke up around 8 am to start our sightseeing in Seoul.
First we went to Gyeongbokgung, which is in my opinion the number one palace to visit in Seoul.
Visiting this magnificent palace is a great activity, and it’s even more interesting with a guide. Before entering the palace grounds, we were asked if we wanted a free guide and a cute girl came with us to guide us. She was a high school student and could tell us a lot about the monument in near-perfect English. She did a great job. It was a wonderful opportunity!
By the time we left Gyeongbokgung, it was time to eat. And oh I knew what and where I wanted to eat! I had stayed in Seoul for 2 months last autumn, so I knew a good place where I really wanted to return. A cheap place with delicious cheese ramyeon, I would do anything for this bowl of cheese ramyeon! And for the first time ever, I could finally finish the huge bowl of deliciousness!
Also, this place is close to where we were going to meet my friend, whom I studied Korean with before. She returned to Seoul to study more, so I was happy we could meet up. I was really happy to finally see her! She had been a very very good friend when we were both in Seoul last autumn, and she’d been a great help too. I hope to see her again soon.
After we said goodbye to my old friend, my friend and I hopped on a subway to Insadong, a nice little shopping street. And not only did we find lots of nice shops, there were also quite some artists performing on the street! In total we listened to them for more than 1 hour. We wanted to stay longer but had to leave.
My friend wanted to go to the more modern shopping district, so off we went to Myeongdong, where she could also see the Seoul Tower from a distance. After this we took a taxi to the Banpo Rainbow Bridge, ending up quite expensive for a taxi ride in Korea. We could have taken a subway, the driver kept on driving the wrong way!
Pictures of this very nice Rainbow Bridge will appear in my next post!