Towering Over…

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Winter melon milk tea and Grace’s mango coconut juice

I went on a third trip to Seoul since arriving in Korea. This trip was a bit different though because I had a partner in crime my whole weekend. Usually I meet up with one or two of the University of Seoul summer buddies I met when I did summer school, but this time I went with Grace! Grace is finishing up her last few weeks in Busan before she heads off to Ethiopia with the Peace Corps. How cool is that? She is actually one of the most interesting people I know, I’m so glad I met her! Either way, let’s talk about our weekend! We took the Saturday morning train into Seoul, with a transfer in Daegu. It was my first time transferring and it was great. It cost less than taking the KTX straight, I could leave from Hwamyeong and it was pretty quick. We left shortly before 10 and got there just before 1. Our train trip was uneventful and we were excited to get to Seoul. We stayed in Hongdae at the Seoul I Guest house (I think). Just outside exit 6 of Hongdae.

wpid-20150207_170348.jpgThis was great because it was away from the main craziness (exit 9) but still super close to everything. Grace and I dropped our things off, our hostel was super clean and comfortable, and then headed out into Hongdae. We walked around, filmed a video and got some snacks for a soju company (I posted it on my facebook) and then we had Taco Bell for lunch. As I said in my previous Seoul post, I love me some Taco Bell. We also went to Forever 21 and thewpid-20150207_172331.jpg sheep cafe so Grace could check it off her Seoul bucket list. Grace was still feeling peckish after Taco Bell so we went to a cafe where I had delicious Winter Melon Milk tea, and Grace also got an ice cream sundae inside of a waffle fish. They have the best street food here! We also ventured into the trick eye museum in Hongdae, which was a first for me.wpid-20150207_171946.jpg

After we explored Hongdae we made our way to Itaewon. Itaewon has the highest concentration of foreigners. I don’t like Itaewon that much but this was one of the first times I really got to explore it. This was after our adventure to Namsan tower though. We caught the tower bus from Itaewon because we wanted to get dinner in Itaewon. It made sense that we’d take that so we could end up there after. After our journey up the mountain, we made the trek to the tower. My only goals for this Seoul trip were to see if my lock was at Namsan tower and of course, get Taco Bell. Unfortunately I did wpid-20150207_192603.jpgnot find my lock that Hannah and I put there in 2013, but we did make a friend. Grace was exploring and this older man was in front of her on some stairs and he farted right in her face. He was going to ignore it but he turned around and basically flipped his lid because she was foreign. He ended up following her for a bit and even got a picture with her and I. It was quite random but it makes for an interesting story. I loved seeing Seoul at night. I had been to the tower before with Hannah during my summer abroad but that was during the day. There’s something about watching that crazy busy city from a distance. I really liked it. We made our way back to Itaewon after going through everything in the tower and went wpid-20150207_190629.jpgon the hunt for some dinner.

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Light show on Namsan tower

Grace wanted to check out the international stores and I didn’t want to pass up the chance to get some gingerale. (Which now I’ve found they have at Shinsegae department store in Busan way cheaper, woo!). I bought two cans and Grace bought some hummus in a can. It was interesting to see all the different things people import. There are way more foreigners in Seoul than Busan for sure, and it was reflected in that store. It was super busy and many people were there buying so many different things. After making our purchases, we decided to hunt for some dinner. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted but we made sure to go through almost all of Itaewon. I enjoyed seeing all the different areas but wpid-img_20150207_223222.jpgafter almost an hour of looking I was happy with our decision. We ended up at a restaurant called “Miya Got the Balls”. I recalled laughing at the sign for it from the bus and this is where we ended up. The prices were pretty high for Korea (15,000w-18,000w+) but we were excited to try something new. The restaurant specialized in meatballs, of course, and so we picked two dishes. One was a mashed potatoes dish with lamb meatballs and coleslaw, and the other was beef meatballs with pasta. You got to choose the type of meat for your meatballs, so that was kind of nice. The atmosphere of the restaurant was dark and cosy. The guys working there seemed to enjoy their work and put together beautiful dishes. It was delicious and worth the money. I really enjoyed the meal and I was glad we ended up there.

After we had our fill of Itaewon, we headed back to Hongdae. We did some late night shopping and listened to some street musicians who were braving the cold. It is a lot colder in Seoul than it is in Busan! We wandered Hongdae a bit more before we ended up at a cafe for a late night treat. I had some carrot cake for the first time in several months and it was delicious! I missed it, haha. We then headed back to our hostel which was empty! We were in a 4 person room but only Grace and I had booked beds! We settled in and had a great sleep. The mattress was so comfortable I didn’t even hear Grace get up the next morning and she was right above me.

Sunday was the day where were going to my usual Seoul haunts: Myeongdong and Dongdaemun. Grace had read an article about the Dongdaemun design plaza and I was excited to go. We spent a good half of the day in Myeongdong, I wpid-20150208_132223.jpgpurchased a cool dinosaur sweater at H&M and some cute striped Vans from ABC mart. Grace went to see a Nanta show but I had seen one before so I didn’t go with her. I loved just exploring around Myeongdong by myself and I’m not sure why but it wasn’t as crazy crowded as it usually was. We also had the BEST donkatsu I’ve ever had in my life. It is HUGE, like the size of your head, and so delicious. We were stuffed for most of the day thanks to that. I thank Jihun for taking me there when I went to Summer school, haha.

Now I have more to stay about Dongdaemun and staying at the Siloam jimjilbang in Seoul but I’m going to save that for my next post. This is already long enough!
If you made it this far, thanks!

Until next time,
– B.

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