On Thursday, February 13th we (Me, Steve, and Steve’s friend John) took a bus to Seoul from Songtan. It’s only about an hour bus ride north of where I live. Once we got to Seoul we went to an area referred to as “Hongdae” where there is a university and a lot of young people. We checked into “Pumpkin Hostel” and were really spoiled and had our own floor, bathroom, kitchen all to ourselves. It cost $15 a person and was super clean and the guy in charge even gave us bread for breakfast. That night we went out in Hongdae and ate at a restaurant where John pointed at a picture on a menu (because we can’t read Korean we look for menus with pictures so we can just point) and turns out he ordered chicken feet. I tried them. Very rubbery, not a lot of meat, and this particular plate was very spicy. Luckily, I picked a good dish that had pretty standard meat and veggies. I don’t remember much after dinner in particular (they drink “soju” here which is a vodka type of liquor…it’s also super cheap) but I definitely remember dancing on some stages and probably terrifying some young Koreans with my ridiculous moves. The clubs were packed and there were a lot of bright lights and loud music. You can also smoke in bars in Korea which was pretty annoying because by the time we left we smelled terrible. Also, most bars stay open until 5am so we didn’t go to sleep until 4:30am. Then we woke up and walked around Hongik University before heading to the Grand Hyatt (where Steve and I were staying Friday night) in the “Itaewon” area of Seoul. The Hyatt. Is. Gorgeous. It sits on a hill that overlooks most of Seoul and from our room window we could see the Namsam Seoul Tower. Friday night we went out in Itaewon and ate at the “Maple Tree”, which is a Korean BBQ restaurant. The food was delicious. They cook it right at your table and you get about 7 different side dishes to go with it. The side dishes vary, but kimchi is usually always included. We also got seasoned onions, salad, seasoned garlic cloves, and mushrooms.
On Saturday Steve and I walked around Seoul and visited “Insadong” where they have a lot of little shops with vintage/traditional Korean clothing, goods, and food (also a lot of interesting street food…like boiling worms). At about 2pm we decided to head back to Songtan and thought we’d try taking the subway. We figured it out (keep in mind most signs are in Korean and not a lot of people speak English to tell you where to go. There are also a LOT of different subway lines and trying to figure out the right one to take is confusing), but we figured it out. However, the train we needed to get on was packed and before I could get on the train (Steve had already made it on) the doors started closing. So, what did I do? I stepped in between the sliding train doors expecting it to work like elevators-when something touches it they stop and open again-but, no, they kept closing and I had to physically push open the doors that were threatening to squeeze my body in two as I was frantically yelling, “I have to get on this!” No one even blinked an eye. Ah, sweet success. Nothing gets your heart rate going like almost being squished to death on your first subway ride.
View from the Seoul Tower