Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Asia 2014: South Korea - Day 5

You can catch up with our South Korea trip here: 012.12.234.


Ihwa Mural Village is set within a more cultural area, away from the busy, bright lights of Seoul city life. In 2006, the local Public Art Committee carried out the Naksan Project to improve the local environment, leading to the artwork of roughly 60 artists appearing on the streets of the village. The murals and sculptures can be seen freely at your own leisure, and there are tourist maps available for those who don't want to miss a single thing!




Some of these were so adorable :)


It was so relaxing, staring down at the houses below in the slight warm breeze :)


We nailed it down to a T (or camera)



This was both pretty, and good for personal reflection :P



How cute is this??



This was definitely my favourite out of them all :)



I loved how the murals changed depending on where you stood and how you looked at it. 

A bit like perspective in life, I suppose.




It was a good bit of exercise to do before setting off to stuff ourselves at the market!

Poop sculptures, anyone?


Welcome to the bustling Gwangjang Market!




We decided on the stall below, with the ahjumma quickly whipping up some boribap for us.




Boribap is essentially a version of bibambap that uses barley and rice, alongside a mixture of vegetables.


After our meal (we shared the above between 4), we set off to see what else was on offer.


Mung Bean Pancake!

This store was pretty popular since it had been featured on South Korean TV before :)


We were pretty full from the boribap, so one pancake would easily have sufficed. Unfortunately, the store owner told us that the minimum order was one between two... so we ordered two and stuffed ourselves silly. At least it wasn't too expensive!

Afterwards, we set off back to the hotel, via the scenic Cheonggyecheon River :)



The water was so clean and clear that we came across some tiny fish!



After freshening up at the hotel for a while, we got changed and set off for the Han River!


After an issue with the ticket machine during which we found out just how kind and helpful the South Koreans can be (an elderly gentleman stopped to see if he could help and actually spent time locating the station staff for us!), we boarded the trains that heavily reminded me of Hong Kong's Metro system.



We bought our awesome t-shirts earlier in the day from a street vendor/ ahjumma :P

I love us :)


Dining alongisde the Han River was truly an unforgettable experience. 
I highly recommend doing this if you get the chance to visit Seoul!


I loved how it seemed so natural and everyone was so relaxed. I felt a bit wary of leaving my belongings so open to theft, but there was truly no reason to worry - South Koreans seem so genuine and honest!



Seoul became so magical once the sun began to set, and the whole city slowly began to light up.


This was most definitely my best evening in Seoul. I will never forget how relaxing and carefree everything felt, sitting alongside the river with the magical city lights.

Dining on Korean fried chicken and beer certainly didn't hurt either!


You can actually order the fried chicken over the phone, and they deliver to the river. 
How awesome is that?!


And so, our group photoshoot began...



Apparently this pose was popular in teenage Korean group pictures... :'D


We played several drinking games over the course of the evening, include the Korean games of 'Baskin Robbins', '007', and a form of elimination by traits - Fold a finger for every trait mentioned which you have... i.e. ear piercing, British accent... :P First to fold all, loses!

Our perfect evening ended after a quick stop at the convenience store, munching ice cream, and taking more selfies than necessary.




I really miss this evening and our antics. I can't wait to go back one day and experience more of South Korea!

With one day left... I'm a little sad at having to finish the series :(

Priscilla,
Xx

Monday, 9 March 2015

Asia 2014: South Korea - Day 4

You can catch up with our South Korea trip here: 012.12.2, 3.

After our daily breakfast of sesame oil flavoured congee with seaweed, chips with ketchup, and japanese curry (it was actually pretty good), we set off for a more chilled out day.

We started by having a daylight stroll through the streets of Myeongdeong for once - something that we had been too busy to do. We made some purchases for friends and family, causing our piles of free samples to grow mountainous. Having made a purchase from Missha and already being given some freebies at the till, the sales lady also threw in about 10 extra samples of their new CC cream... and all I was doing was standing at the entrance after paying, waiting for Kin to come back with an umbrella!


We found this candy floss man just down the road from our hotel. 
Why can't English candy floss be so awesome?!

Eventually we made our way towards the market for lunch... randomly locating Stamp World (Korea Postage Stamp Museum) along the way. The building was pretty cool - it reminded me of fish scales for some reason.


About half an hour later, we arrived at Namdaemun Market!





I loved the atmosphere of the market - completely buzzing with liveliness. This place stopped for no one - you better not block the streets!


We had lunch at the above restaurant, which offered three types of soup noodle: son-kalguksu, son-sujebi, and janchi-guksu.

Son-kalguksu: Hand-cut, wheat flour noodle soup (₩2500, ~£1.50!)

Son-sujebi: Handmade, hand-torn noodle flakes in soup (₩3500, ~£2.10!)

I highly recommend the sujebi! I'm not usually a big fan of noodles, but this really reminded me of soup dumpling skin - something that I would happily eat for weeks on end. This was one of my favourite meals in Seoul - I still reminisce and heavily crave for it!

Janchi-guksu: Thin wheat flour noodle soup (₩2000,  ~£1.20!)


Service was not exactly stellar - they were impatient and we were rushed to order, but you hardly need time to decide when there are only three items on the menu...


With a little room left in our stomachs, we headed for hotteok, a chewy Korean pancake that usually comes with a sweet filling. The one we had contained brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and peanuts. It's definitely a sweet treat that's worth a try - just be careful not to burn your tongue!


The heat eventually got to us, so we headed to Shinsegae department store for some relaxing air conditioning. Somehow, we ended up in the supermarket...


We found an awesome man who was handing out free ice lolly samples, with yummy, exotic, tropical flavours like mango and pink guava. We ended up making a purchase!


Next, we went to the Trick Eye Museum! Essentially a gallery full of 2D artwork that comes to life through the addition of a subject. You'll see what I mean; I've posted a few of my favourites below.


 We had far too much fun here!

"Nooo, save her!!"

"Gotcha!"

"10/10!"

Meditation in progress...

"Oh, crap."

"Heyyyy, sexyy laydehhh" ;)


I highly recommend visiting the Trick Eye Museum. It's fun for all ages and the photos always throw friends who have never been! :P

Next up was the Ice Museum! It was quite small, but still good fun :)


Do you like my new car? 


On the way into my icy home...



The ice home was pretty cool.. there was an ice toilet, bar, sofa, television, piano.. even an iced bed that Kin faked a nap in!


There was also an ice Cinderella-type pumpkin coach, and an igloo housing an iced fire!


Eventually the cold got the better of us, so we took the ice slide and left the giant freezer room. We sat in the canteen area resting our legs and pondering where to go for dinner. But not before we had some more fun with these awesome chairs!


 On our way to dinner, we stopped to take a look at the Love Museum that was on the floor above...



After taking a quick photo in the entrance, we headed back out for our KBBQ dinner!


Similar to our KBBQ with HJ oppa, this restaurant also used coal for the grill, and leisurely moved the pan of coal through the busy restaurant. You could feel the heat under the table...




With an egg mix around the edge of the pan, we ordered a variety of beef and pork before happily grilling and munching away.


With our stomachs full, we took an after-dinner stroll and headed for Seoul Tower! Once we'd taken the small sloped lift on the side of the mountain, we made it to the ticket office and purchased our cable car tickets for the mountain top.


We were in the queue for about half an hour before we made it onto the cable car... by this time, it was already 10.30pm, and we only had 30 minutes left before they closed for the evening!


The view from the top was amazing! Though not as clear as the Hong Kong sky line, it was so peaceful and truly stunning. I always enjoy how a city can look so small and still from a height. I love it even more for the starry lights :)


Of course, how can one make it to Seoul Tower without seeing all of the love locks?


We knew that the bridge by the tower was known as the Korean love lock bridge, but we had no idea that it would be so big, and that there would be so many. I don't even think the Parisian bridge has that many! It was truly touching and seemed so romantic :) Unfortunately we never thought to bring a padlock, so we skipped the tradition and went on to take photos with the tower and its surroundings.

It was one of the more relaxing days on our trip, but I remember getting really angry and stressed out at the Ice Museum because there were so many people. Luckily, we still had a perfect ending :)


With three days left to go... I can't wait to finish the series and tell you about my best day in Seoul!

Again, thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed the photo spam!

Priscilla,
Xx

Disclaimer: The amazingly beautiful and professional shots featured in this blog post are not my own. They have been used with kind permission from Kin :) A few of belonging to Sarah or myself appear, but the majority do not belong to us.

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