I began my morning revising my GCSE Korean War history module at the memorial museum which unsurprisingly, while free and pretty high tech, wasn’t particularly inspiring to someone not enthralled by details of troop regiments and army manoeuvres. From there I began my day of market hopping from Dongdaemun market for vintage clothes and crisp mung bean pancakes to the antiques of the seoul folk flea market and bric-a-brac at Jungang market. The route I took between these buzzing spots was along the beautiful Cheong-gye-cheon river which now in daylight was a perfect spot to stop and watch storks gliding past and spot murals dotted along the river bank walls.
I headed north to see more street art at the Iwah Mahal mural village which had artworks painted on staircases, houses, walls and house alarms creating a space exploding with colour. Always a sucker for great views I grabbed a coffee at a rooftop cafe before strolling up Naksan Park to watch the sunset. I could hear music plying from the streets below so followed my way to see the last few hours of a weekend music festival in the city before heading back to Hongdae. There I grabbed a feast of crisp onion dumplings and a plump Gimbap roll not dissimilar to sushi but cooked without sushi vinegar and doused in mayonnaise instead! That night I managed to meet Oscar who turned out to be the brother of Daisy the amazing girl I had met a few weeks ago in Osaka! We celebrated this amazing coincidence with a wild evening that resulted in 8 stitches and 5 X-rays on my nose after a face to club stage collision… oops!
In attempt to repent for my sins I headed off to book a stay in a buddhist temple as I felt maybe it was time to detox and as the guidebook promised to find myself! The office was run by the most helpful Korean ladies that sorted me out with a stay at a temple in the mountains before directing me to a nearby lantern filled temple, Jogye-sa where I rested under the colourful canopy in the sunshine! Later I met Oscar to explore the nearby Seonyudo park which boasted amazing views over the river before a BBQ dinner feast!
I’m currently writing this after a day of travelling to Jeju island just off the South Korean mainland. Having been cancelled on by my hostel just before I landed I was thrilled to be invited for a Korean feast cooked by the staff at my new hostel. I know now that kimchee, chicken and rice cures everything!
(Photos; Design Plaza, Mural village 1, 2, Gimbap feasting, Views, coffee with a view, Antiques at Jungmun, The inner city river in the day, Watch collection at the market, adhesive stall….!, Mungbean pancakes 1, 2, War memorial museum 1, 2, Korean BBQ 1,2, Views from the park 1,2)