Saturday, June 8, 2013

I left a piece of my soul in Seoul (Part 1)

It's been 6 months since Korea.

Admittedly, much of my memories of discovering Korea are slowly dissipating. A post left in the draft for waayyyyyy too long! Eheh, since declaring today a chillout day (but feeling quite inspired to write, surprisingly), here's a peek into my touristy experience of Seoul.  


I love new experiences. I love trying new things.So it wouldn't be strange for me to find excitement traipsing around in a foreign country during different seasons of the year. And boy, was I squealing with joy to have a chance to catch a glimpse of the city of Seoul covered in a blanket of snow. It was somewhat magical. 

We had 4 days to explore the nooks and crooks of Korea. What I clearly remembered was how cold the weather was, touching -20 degrees on the coldest days. Covered with four layer of clothings, we still felt shivers down our spine walking along the streets. Winter can be so unforgivingly brutal. 

But winter landscape is too breathtakingly beautiful. The picture above depicts Seoul covered in snow -- taken at dusk atop N Seoul Tower. 

Coincidentally our last sunset of 2012. 

Seoul is like a successful man wearing a tailored made suit, but pairs the suit with a classic old tie (a gift from his mum 20 years ago). Ok, my metaphor isn't that great, but all I wanted to say is I'm impressed by how Seoul managed to keep its traditional culture throughout the years modernising. 

Me with N Seoul. Freezingly pale.

Thousands of love locks along the walls of N Seoul. Each bearing a special meaning to a certain couple.

Spot ours! That's my boyfriend being corny. 

Quirky decorated cafes can be found at almost every corner of the streets. We were quick to comprehend why it was so. Nothing beats the feeling of sipping a cup of latte in a heated coffee joint watching the snow fall outside.

And of course, we had our fair share of coffee during our stay there. Our very first cafe was BEANSBIN coffee, a famous coffee chain around Seoul. 

... with waffles to pair.

Grand entrance of Changdeokgung Palace (창덕궁).

Very surreal to see a palace covered in snow.

We also made a pitstop at Bukchon Hanok Village. 
This is the one of the main street, where traditional hanok rooftops are juxtaposed against the skyscaper skyline of modern Seoul. 

Samcheong-Dong with Bakaksan (부각산) in the background.
Hehe, think I could totally fool people to say that this was taken from Switzerland instead.

That said, Samcheong-Dong is a hipster street filled with hipster coffee joint / bakeries. We wanted to try so many of the coffee places, but so many of them were fullhouse. Speaks of the level of coffee consumption in Seoul during winter. 

It was wayyyyyyyyyy too cold, as usual. So we spend a couple of hours sipping coffee, people watching. From my observations, Koreans dress impeccably well!

Z was very enthusiastic to ice skate at the City Hall skating rink. On a Saturday night, this place was filled with happy Korean kids, dating couples and even tourists were spotted! Romantic Korean ballads filled the air as people skated around the ice rink (or at least, attempt to! :p).

To our dismay, only a limited amount of people were allowed to skate in the rink. So you had to book your time slot, and wait in line. We decided to scrap this activity given that next available time slot was at least an hour away. But it shall remain on my bucket list!

We ended up in Lotte Mart to grab some souvenirs and local delights. Ermerged, the human traffic inside Lotte Mart is insane. Typical Asians are everywhere blocking every lane possible with their filled-to-the-brim carts. Not gonna reommend Lotte Mart unless you're kiasu and really like to get some cheap Lotte stuff.

Half an hour later, we were battered. Decided to have a quick bite instead, so we had my favourite Tteokbokki (chewy rice cakes) ! I LOVE TTEOKBOKKI!

Remember to catch Nanta' when in Seoul!

It was SOO funny and entertaining!! No dialogues, only rhythmic banging of knives, pots and pan. Highly recommended.

Note - Buy your tickets online for more discounts!

Ending this post with my favourite picture of the lot!
Taken with the frozen fountain behind us at Cheongyecheon Stream.

Part 2, coming soon!

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