This was the attitude I much appreciated during Laurel’s stay here in Seoul. Having spent the last eight months in France, and destined to meet up with her mom in Seoul for a small but worldly rendezvous, all she wanted to do was wander around hoping to fall into a nice boutique to buy a dress (which she wore for the next couple of days straight) or find a good coffee shop or indulge me in my obsession with stationary. Equipped with only four days in Seoul before she was on an itinerary with her mom, we wandered, following our desires and not a plan.
In those four days I saw most of Seoul all over again with a few new sights including the 63 building (the tallest building in Seoul? Korea? It was tall), Garusil-gil (couple’s street filled with coffee shops and expensive boutiques and all lined with trees), had an amazing burger on a whim, and scarfed down a witch’s cauldron’s worth of noodles at a restaurant in the middle of Hongdae (the artsy area of Seoul).
Because these four days were packed with wanderings, I’ve decided (tea to my right, Ra Ra Riot “Keep it Quiet” playing, windows open) to break it up into a three part series. Part 1: Let’s just go bowling: Day 1.
And the wandering begins, backdropped by a sea of Hangeul. Laurel may or may not have still been asleep here, seeing as jet-lag really got the best of her. A true trooper, though — despite the heavy eye lids, she still came out to palaces, and artsy areas with me.
“Hwe-dab-bap” and the witch’s brew. That first one is a delicious combination of flavors and textures. Soft rice comforting the fresh and bright raw salmon and roe with as many crisp and enlivening shaved vegetables on the side. Pour a little deep gochujan on it, and you’ve got yourself a party. The witch’s brew was a massive bowl of udon noodles with a side of miso soup that is not at all correctly portrayed in this picture. We, a-hem, nearly finished all of it. Mid day. Now what.
The first: Something that scared Laurel nearly back down the stairs of the subway. Every changing season in Seoul, the city puts on a “High Seoul Festival” on the Han River. Most of the time there are some outlandish performers. This day, men dressed in pink with some insane stilts for appendages. The second: Korea’s pride and joy and the golden home of the tallest gallery in the world. Behold, the building that looks tall only because nothing is tall around it. The 63 building.
The day was ripe with Yellow Dust, or smog, or fog, or overcast, or something so that seeing across the Han wasn’t the easiest of things. But what was easy was to see how Korea has been developing in strange ways some times. Like these futuristic-neo-post-apocolyptic buildings just west of the 63 building. How is this more attractive than small traditional houses?
Also. Thrill deck? It turned out to be a series of strange mirrors turned in all sorts of directions to make it look like you were suspended in air. It was interesting, for sure, but Thrill Deck? We could have come up with a better name, right?
We ended the day section of our adventures with ddeok, or rice cake. These little treats are chewy, supple, coated with green tea powder, black sesame powder, sesame seeds, or red bean powder and always filled with red bean paste. They are, undoubtedly something I will severely miss.
But thanks to both of our “let’s keep wandering” mentalities, the day was far from over.