*runs from the past, wheezing for breath*
Madi here, just wanted to give you the heads up this post is a bit of a long one. Believe me I just finished writing it all up so I should know. Just grab a cup of tea and get comfy. I would’ve made it shorter but there was just too much stuff I had to share! Anyways, carry on reading!
*runs back into the future*
I am all about having a cozy home, a place to cuddle, and having all of my belongings available whenever I need them. But since we’ve been traveling so much I’ve gotten used to having to plan ahead, guess the weather, and do without being cozy all the time. It’s definitely not my preferred way of living, but I’m also not entirely against it.
We took a trip to South Korea for a few days and wow. My Dad found an Airbnb online and the woman we rented from offered to take us sightseeing if we wanted. We arrived in the late afternoon, she met us at the apartment and showed us around, and told us she would see us the next day at 10am as we had planned. It was an amazing apartment as we had a really pretty view (from the 14th floor out of 60) with lights and even a Costco right across the street!! We may or may not have all freaked out when we saw it. While we were all in shock my parents sat there laughing as they had wanted to surprise us. Costco pizza and hot dogs had never tasted so good.
The first day we just chilled, hung around the apartment, and took some normal showers. It was so nice to not have to turn it off every minute or mop, or anything. I miss those showers so much…
The next day was when we became tourists.
At 10am we headed down and met up with the woman and her boyfriend who was our designated driver for the day. They had gotten a van just one seat short, so the 4 youngest kids just squished in the backseat. We drove about an hour to Gyeonghuigung Palace which is a huge tourist spot, but it was kinda fun to be able to be tourists, so we wandered the buildings and took loads of pictures. It was pretty overcast the entire drive, and after a little while of being at the palace it started to rain a little. Most of us had coats though and it made it a little more fun honestly. Cold yes. But still fun.
Korean BBQ was next and oh.my.gosh. I hate that I’m one of these people, but I’ve never really liked Chinese food. We’ll go out to eat and I may try a few things, I usually avoid meat, try a few vegetable dishes that end up being all about the spice, or just eat rice. I’m just not a fan, I’ve tried but it doesn’t do it for me. And the same was a little true for Korean food. Except when they put marinated pork on the BBQ in our table and it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
After lunch we ran downstairs as there was a Starbucks underneath the restaurant (there was literally Starbucks EVERYWHERE) and some of us got coffees before heading on. There’s a village that was built ages ago, but is still being lived in! One of the original homes was set up as a museum to showcase what it looked like all those years ago, while the others were obviously closed off to the public as people are living in them. But it was still fun to wander the alleys and streets looking at them all.
From there we went to an area chocked full of places selling souvenirs and knick knacks and unique items. It was so cool to see open doors and to look in expecting to see a shop and just seeing a staircase. Then you look at the sign and see that it’s an antique shop and cafe, or sometimes there were underground cafes, etc. Art galleries were everywhere, really cool or pretty graffiti brightened up the building walls and I just wanted to spend days going into each one and soaking it all up.
As we wandered we ended up at an outside mall I guess you could call it. Upon walking in we were met by a stand selling fried dough in the shape of the poop emoji. I know. We all laughed but it was cold and honestly fried dough filled with chocolate sounded amazing so we bought some. We were tired but excited and we laughed a lot and couldn’t believe we were going to eat them but we did and they were actually really good.
We circled up through all the shops and stopped every now and then to pop in for a closer look. About halfway up we realized that people had started signing the walls. Any blank walls were covered in signatures or “So and So was here” or “I LOVE SO AND SO”. It was pretty cool to see people from 5 years ago or two weeks ago saying they had sat on the stairs, or were from France or something crazy. I regretted not bringing a sharpie or something to sign it with!
From there we took off to another shopping area that has LOADS of shops which were a mix of pretty normal korean shops, or stores like Forever 21 or Lush. At this point it was getting later in the evening and therefore getting pretty cold. I stupidly had worn my jeans with holes in the knees and the wind was brutal so I was freezing. So as soon as I saw the Lush store I ran. I bought a bath bomb as we had a deep tub at the apartment and I spent the rest of the night knowing I would go home to a lovely hot bath. (it was well worth it)
The street food was what we really came for though. We decided to just eat dinner while wandering from cart to cart, trying a little bit of this or a little bit of that. The kids had fried potatoes on sticks, fruit was very easy to find, bacon wrapped hot dogs, crepes with strawberries, bananas, cornflakes, blueberries, almonds and nutella (sounds weird but it was AMAZING), and loads more. It was freezing and crowded but I’m so glad we did it. Street food is the way to go man.
Our last stop of the night was the Seoul Tower, aka the highest point in Seoul. We drove up there, then took a bus to the top. We walked around the observation deck and the view was truly gorgeous. There were even fireworks going off in the distance at one point! Not all of us ended up going up in the tower (including me) but I was more than happy to see the view from the deck, as sometimes I don’t really enjoy heights (even though I love roller coasters, I know don’t judge me I’m just weird like that). But it was super fun and just a great day and we made soooo many memories.
The car ride back was long, a few people nodded off, but it was a productive day and one we all loved no matter how cold we were. The couple who had helped arrange everything for us and showed us around were so wonderful. She spoke English as well as Korean and her boyfriend didn’t speak fluent English but enough to make friends with all the kids and keep them laughing the whole day. They made the whole experience go so much smoother and made it so much more enjoyable.
As I write this it’s Saturday night and our flight for China leaves tomorrow afternoon. I’m sad to be leaving honestly but at the same time I’m ready to go back to our apartment and sleep in my own bed again. Even though it’s nowhere near as soft as the one I’m sitting on now is. 😂
I’ve put it in my bucket list, and I’ve decided I will come back one day to explore all the rest of it. I mean, I think the whole of South Korea would be a bit much but I want to at least see more of Seoul and Incheon one day and visit all those galleries and cafes.
Traveling is exhausting and not always convenient or comfortable, but so far it’s proven to be worth it.