My first day in Korea was a great one!
We started the morning meeting up with a few of Jaclyn’s students for a field trip! Other students had the day off today because the older students have a huge exam (think MCAS). It’s such a big deal that airplanes can’t fly over Korea between 12pm – 6pm! Apparently the proctors need to stand totally still the whole time, can’t cough or sneeze or anything! Very intense.
Anyway, Jaclyn’s three students had developed a little tour of Seoul plan as part of their assignment.
We hopped on the train to Seoul. Our first stop was…
Bukchon Hanok Village is a really cool neighborhood that makes up the northern area of Seoul. The houses are modeled after a very old traditional style from the Joseon Dynasty.
They were really gorgeous houses and reminiscent of earlier times. It was also tons of fun to walk around and check out the restaurants, street food, and little stores scattered about.
We also were lucky enough to catch the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung Palace.
The Gyeongbokgung Palace was really cool. We just went inside to take a peek, but it’s quite magnificent to see.
Next we hit up
We had a great lunch at Rice Story, where Jaclyn and I shared some tasty Mongolian beef bibimbap and rice cake noodles. I’m proud to say I handled the chopsticks without issue!
Jaclyn’s students overheard me freaking out about the dog cafe, so they offered to take us there next. Jaclyn said Koreans are like that – if you say that you want to do something, they’ll make it happen, so you have to be aware of what you say!
The place ended up being a bit too pricey for all of us to go in, but we got a look to check it out. It was kind of strange – a giant room with people sitting in a circle, waiting for dogs to come to them. There were about 8 different dogs there – a bulldog, a labrador, a pug, and others. They kind of just ran around doing whatever they wanted.
I think it’s actually a pretty fun idea. I suggested starting one in the US but Jaclyn reminded me that it would probably never be legal in the US. Womp. Maybe someday!
Walking around I was very impressed at the cheap prices – lots of great shopping to be had! Can’t wait to go back and do some shopping later.
Next we went to…
We took the cable car up to Namsan Tower, which offers incredible views of Seoul.
Only here did I get a real sense of how HUGE Seoul is. Jaclyn said that there are 10 million people just in the central Seoul area.
We walked around, taking in the scenery. There are also tons of love locks here, modeled after the famous Pont des Arts bridge in Paris which I visited a few years back (they’re actually doing away with the locks because bridge railings are collapsing from the weight).
Jaclyn said relationships in Korea are very intense – couples will come here and put love locks (signaling undying eternal love) up after just a week or two of dating! We discussed this later at dinner, and apparently it’s even OK to say “I love you” after a few weeks.
After Namsam we took the train back to Ansan, where we took a rest before meeting Jaclyn’s friends out at Korean BBQ. And man oh man, was that BBQ awesome.
Korean BBQ: Nom Nom!
This was my first experience with Korean BBQ, and it was AWESOME!
At Korean BBQ, you roast meat over goals, while a giant metal tube sucks up the smoke! The group shares the meat and kimchi. It was tons of fun and delicious.
I’ve noticed a lot of places around also have spaces under the chairs or benches to store your jacket or purse, which is really cool and convenient!
We finished up the night visiting a local bar, where we indulged in delicious “alcohol pudding” dishes which tasted like high-class, improved jello shots.
We also had some Coronitas, which ended up being HUGE!
It was a really great first day. Can’t wait for tomorrow 🙂