Korea to the last drop
November 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
Starting mid-August, I’ve been on a mission to enjoy living in Korea to the max while I still can. Luckily, I have my fellow teachers and carousers-in-arms, Kate and Sarah, to accompany me on this mission.
Kate and I kicked off our travel and leisure campaign with a trip to Gyeongju, home of some of Korea’s most important historical sites. We visited tombs, temples, pagodas and pavilions, rode our bike through rice paddies and lotus fields, and ate lots of Gyeongju bbang and cheol bori bbang.
In our last weeks in Seoul, we devoted our free time to hitting all the sites we somehow missed as well as revisiting old favorites. We hiked the fortress walls north of the city, sought out quirky cages in Samcheongdong, visited Changdeokgung Palace, went to a baseball game, rode the world’s steepest wooden roller coaster, got lost in the Dongdaemun shopping maze, and bought loads of cut Asian stationery products. Naturally, we had to eat sometime, so we revisited all our favorite restaurants- crepes, naengmyun, barbecue, Kzakh, Uzbek, jjajangmyun, bubble tea, mojitos, Thai, pizza, street food galore. We continued our traditions of sky lounge lunches and dinners with our Korean co-teachers.
Another weekend we hiked Dobongsan, north ofs Seoul. The views were spectacular and we reveled in Korean hiking and picnic culture. The pictures say it all.
All the while, I was training for my second running of the Chuncheon marathon. I spent a lot of time on the Han river and it’s tributaries, the Tancheon and the Yangjaecheon. The atmosphere can range from serene and solitary to bustling with walkers, runners, cyclists, inline skaters, musicians, fishermen, pets, children, soccer games, tai chi clubs, and picnickers. On Sunday afternoons it feels like being in a Where’s Waldo cartoon.
Of course, I had to spend a lot of time running at my very favorite place in Seoul, Namsan. This was when I felt the most nostalgia for leaving Korea.