Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring in South Korea 2017 - Part 2 Seoul

My dear friend helped us find this Airbnb apartment in a strategic area. We loved the apartment. It was clean and situated in a lively area with a lot of food options that open late at night. It was also walking distance to many interesting areas. 

When we arrived at the apartment it was still before check out time but the host was nice enough to take our suitcases in while we ventured out for lunch. We stopped less than a block away and ordered Bulgogi and Samgyeopsal. Yum.....

Interesting enough, in this restaurant they didn't serve salt and sesame oil for the samgyeopsal. In fact, throughout our trip we found that most of them don't and if they did serve salt for dipping it was not with sesame oil. We didn't know how to ask in Korean and they barely spoke English so we decided to just forget it.



After lunch, we checked in properly into our apartment and headed out for a walk to Changdeokgung Palace. The streets were mostly clean with decent sized sidewalks. It was pleasant to walk around but the wind was still very cold even though it was already better than earlier in the morning.

Along the sidewalks there were leafless trees with white barks. Not too many people were walking but we saw busloads of polices officers in the area. Later on we figured that the police officers were guarding the palaces in the area. On the way to Changdeokgung Palace, we passed a smaller palace called Unhyeongung Palace.


Wall of Unhyeongung Palace


We finally arrived at the big palace but to our dismay, it was closed. It turned out that all the palaces were closed on Mondays. It was too bad because we had promised to take Miss Kiki to see the Secret Garden inside the palace complex. She got quite upset.





After taking some pictures on the outside of the palace, we started heading back to go to another park to console the little miss. We made a quick stop for coffee and dessert for my mom.

Tree hugger
Tiramisu


We walked past a small Womens University on the way, so we made a quick stop there to just to sit around and enjoy the atmosphere.


Our destination was Tapgol Park. A small park very close to our apartment. Tapgol Park was surrounded by a wall. We reached the outer part of the park but weren't able to find an open entrance door. In the area where we were, there were some homeless people and some drunk people. There was even a lady with a very loud voice screaming at people for no obvious reason. On top of that, there were groups of men wearing black jackets gathering around in circles. We didn't feel so good about it so we took off right away. Lol..

It was late afternoon and I wanted to check out the shopping area. We took the subway to Nandaemun station. Oh, I forgot to mention that at the airport I had bought a T card which is a pre-paid card for transportation in Korea. It gave us discounts on transportations, and they have different types of T-cards that give you different discounts on other stuff too. Mine was the Amazing Pay Seoul T-card that gave me discounts for entry to Lotte World, some non-verbal shows, and more. To ride the buses we only needed one card and it can be tapped multiple times for multiple people. However, for subway rides one card is only good for one person.  For each subway ride, we used the T card, 1 single journey adult ticket, and 1 single journey child ticket. The single journey cards cannot be recharged but you can feed it to a deposit machine to get 500 won back per card. There is a special machine for that at the station. In the beginning we didn't know that we could get money back for them so we put them into a box that was asking for donation. Apparently you can donate your used cards for charity.

Upon our arrival at Dongdaemun, Miss Kiki started to get cranky and whiny. We sat down at Gong Cha and she fell asleep. We thought something must be wrong because she is not the cranky nor whiny type, and she doesn't usually take afternoon naps either! Sure enough, she had a fever. It felt quite hot but we didn't bring a thermometer with us. We decided to go back to the apartment to rest. My mom rubbed her with some essential oils and she slept.


While Miss Kiki was resting in the apartment, I decided to head out and scout the area. I combed through the streets in the area and bought strawberries, a pear, and honey in hopes that they will help Miss Kiki get better. Korean strawberries and pears are famous in Jakarta but they were so expensive, so while in Korea, I thought it would be a good idea to have them. Korean strawberries are much larger and much sweeter than local Indonesian strawberries. However in my opinion, the strawberries I had in Czech Republic were still way better. I also bought a triple decker sandwich for my mom to eat. We ended up sharing a sandwich because it was so big. We gave Miss Kiki Panadol that evening.



In Korean Drama series, we had always seen Korean people stopping for food in tents after work. Well, here they are :D There were many, many tents in our apartment area.



That night was full moon. This is the end of our second night in Korea.
View from our apartment building
Stay tuned for Part 3!