Sunday, July 14, 2013

Whirlwind with Miriam

Miriam hit the ground running. With just a week to soak up as much of Korea as she could, we didn't have a moment to spare :)
Year of the Rabbit 
I planned an all Korean-itinerary. We spent the first full day exploring the two main palaces, the secret garden, the bukchon hanok village and Insa-dong before we ended the night in Garosugil for Vatos.

Bukchon Hanok Village
The next day we went to Namsan to see the beautiful barefoot garden, see views of Seoul Tower and relax at the Hyatt with a drink, the expansive view of Seoul and the live music of the calming pianist and violinist. That night we headed to Gangnam for a pork bbq with somak :)

Sunday, we packed an overnight bag and headed first to Namdaemun market to explore during the rainy morning and try lots of street food. Once we had full bellies and were thoroughly soaked, we grabbed a cab and headed up to Bukhansan National park to go to Geumsunsa for a temple stay. Once there, we were given our uniforms and relaxed a bit before heading on a tour and a meditation session. This temple is a Zen meditation temple and it was a perfect setting in the mountains to connect with nature and clear your mind. We did the 108 bows and headed to dinner. From there, we went to bed relatively early to rise for our next meditation session at 4:30am. After meditation and breakfast, we napped a bit before we headed back to the city.

That afternoon we went to Cheongdam (area known for making people beautiful) for lunch and then had a Korean facial. Once finished, we headed for some spicy yeong-neom chicken and rice cakes before heading home.
Tuesday, we met one of my Korean friends to take us to eat cheonggukchang, aka stinky soup. The meal is a true feast with many many sides and bibimbap, and whatever you order; in our case, pork. After the meal, we headed to Bongeunsa to see the temple across from my apartment before we went to Cheongdam again to see a 4-D movie. We saw World War Z which was a bit terrifying in 4-D, but still a fun experience :) That night, we ate a fresh salad at home and watermelon. After almost a full week of Korean meals, we needed something fresh; neither salted nor fermented.

Wednesday, I introduced Miriam to the Korean baths :) Although it is quite far, I figured if you only have one shot, you should probably go to the largest bathhouse in Seoul- Dragon Hill Spa. We spent the late morning there, only to find out that Wednesday mornings from 10-11:30am is when they do the maintenance and cleaning of the women's baths :( We took advantage by trying all of the saunas and drinking sikhye- a sweet, cold rice beverage. Once the baths were opened we dived into the herbal baths and soaked before we went for a body scrub. I haven't been forever and Miriam has never been, so the scrubbing ladies loved to show us how much skin they were scrubbing away and how "dirty" we were. We did feel like brand new after the very rough scrub down and beating...a.k.a. massage.

We had just enough time to stop at home, grab M's bags and get her to the City Airport. It was a jam-packed week that left me completely exhausted. We crisscrossed the city several times, spending hours on buses, metros, walking and in cabs. I even got to the point where I felt a bit Koreaned out in regards to food, which I didn't know was possible. So happy I got to share this city with another friend and introduce many cultural aspects of our country.

No comments:

Post a Comment