It took us three weeks but we finally trekked ourselves up to the city of Seoul. Today was the last day of our Chuseok Holiday break and figured we better take advantage of our time off! We have made quick visits to the surrounding districts before this trip, but today we spent the whole day pretty much eating and walking, and it was good! We met up with Ms. Paik, a friend and also a teacher at our school. We were so lucky to have a "local" tour us around for the day!
We started our day catching the number 40 bus to Jukjeon Station. Once we arrive we loaded our T-money cards and made our way to the yellow line catching the 10:27 train. We took the Yellow line all the way to the last stop, jumped on the blue line another 8 stops finally arriving at Gwanghwamun Square around noon.
|Riding on the Subway|
Our First stop was at the statute of King Sejong. He is the individual who created the Korean Hangul Alphabet. Koreans are very proud of their language and how simplistic and accurate it is compared to other alphabets. There is a whole museum under the statue of King Sejong explaining the life of King Sejong, the creation of Hangul and an art gallery with work from various artists who use Hangul as an inspiration.
|Above are some samples of Hangul that I found interesting throughout the exhibit of King Sejong.|
On our way to get lunch we walked through some interesting areas.
Some of Seoul's Architecture
Memorial ribbons and signs for those who lost their lives in the Sewol Ferry tragedy
Statue of Admiral Yi Sunshin
(The commander who protected his country from Japan during the Imjin War)
A group of protestors in support of changing rules and regulations to prevent anything like the Sewol tragedy from ever happen again
A juxtaposition of old and new architecture :l
The US Embassy (If you look close you can see the small American Flag)
Lunch Time! This was probably the best part of the day... for me! As we ventured away from the streets and back into the alleys I knew we were in for some real good eats! Our friend Ms. Paik took us to one of her favorite restaurants that serve Panjan (Korean Pancakes). These are not the sweet breakfast pancakes you are used to back home. They are the savory veggie and seafood packed kinds that make a perfect lunch or dinner. Lunch also came with a seafood soup, a sour but cool pickled vegetable, a side of Kimchi (one of the best we have had) and a spicy dipping sauce.
|The Serving bowls used as decorations were a nice touch|
After some shopping on Insadong we went into Ssamzigil. Ssamzigil is a shopping center that we compared to Pike place market. There was food, art, clothing etc... and spiraled itself up 4 stories high.
At the top we were able to get a few views of Seoul some even showing mountains in the background.
The weather was great! Sunny and warm but there was a nice breeze. We decided it was time to cool off again after Ssamzigil. This time we stopped at a tea house for some cold tea and rice cakes. Back into the alleyways we went! The tea shop was a little hole in the wall. It was quite, cool, and cozy. The tea was pretty good too. We all opted for cold tea and a couple types of rice cakes.
|Mrs. Rude and Ms. Paik|
|Spicy Cinnamon, Sweet Jujubee, and milky Meesootgaru Teas|
Our next stop was a place I was looking forward to, Bukchon Hanok Village! It was quite the adventure getting there! We asked a pedicab driver directions and ended up going for ride. Ms. Paik was asking for directions and he offered a ride for a cheap rate ( I don't think he realized we were a group of three). There were seats for three but we are not your typical Korean sized individuals! He took all three of us and assured us he would have no problem as he trains for bike races. He was really nice, found downhill routes and we gave him a decent fare :)
|"You only live once" Our pedicabs motto and attitude towards our group :)|
|Riding right along with the traffic!|
Back to Bukchon Hanok Village, it is Seoul's last neighborhood with a high concentration of Hanok (Korean Traditional Style Homes). This style home is really neat and I love the idea of the open courtyard. Unfortunately, my pictures did not turn out of the house open to the public.
Our last stop for the day was.... Food! We wanted ice-cream and had to climb down some pretty steep stairs to get to it!
We ended up at Hagen Daze, only this one was a dine-in sit-down restaurant only. It was pretty fancy and it felt funny ordering ice cream from a fancy book menu. However it was delicious and I would do it again!
|Mango Sparkle Water Sorbet, Some Chocolate Sauce, Tiaramisu and Green Tea Ice Cream|
|Mrs. Rudes favorite sparkle water yet :)|
The day was packed but it was full of adventure and all around a great day! A HUGE shout out to our friend Ms. Paik! We would have walked around aimlessly and had a totally different (not nearly as good/tasty/fun) experience in Gwanghwamun Square without you! Thanks for the great day!