2nd day in Korea

It’s 11:30pm on day 2 of the trip, and everything hurts.  We walked over 22k steps today, a lot of it uphill in hot weather, and I have no doubt I’ve worked off some of the junk we ate.  Delicious, delicious junk.

From now on though I’m going to be eating clean.  Okay, except maybe for some taffy.  There’s a guy in Myeongdong who demonstrates taffy making and I promised myself I’d go back to see it.  But that’s it! No more junk.

We started off well this morning.  A 30 minute walk to Gyeongbokgung Palace, with a light breakfast at a cafe nearby (a mango smoothie and a sandwich).  

Along the way, we passed by this stream, called Cheonggyecheon Stream. It runs for somewhere between 6km and 11km (every single website seems to have a different figure so I have no idea how long it is!) and has turned the centre of the city into an environmentally friendly urban space. Apparently it runs directly into the Han (or Hangang) River – I’m hoping to do the walk one of these days, but will have to wait for a day when we haven’t walked 20,000+ steps.

The palace itself was amazing. I felt like an ant compared to the size of the place. It reminded me of some of the sets from random kung fu movies and Marco Polo (Netflix), with a grand throne room, buildings for the families, consorts, etc.

From there we made our way to the Namsan Cable Car (which involved a steep climb) and up to N Seoul Tower.  It was exactly what you’d expect from a lookout, great views of the city, but it finally dawned on me just how ridiculously huge Seoul is.  

We had lunch at HanCook Restaurant, which is in N Seoul Tower.  It’s called a ‘traditional Korean buffet’, so they had bibimbap, kimchi pancakes, kimbap and other Korean dishes, as well as some traditional sweets.

The sweets were nice – they were more about texture rather than flavour, so while I enjoyed them, I didn’t over indulge.

We made the trip home, stopping briefly for some souvenir shopping and to purchase these bizarre cookies (turns out they’re just a giant ball of something similar to fried wanton wrappers, coated in desiccated coconut and other delicious things).

Late in the evening, we wandered into Myeongdong to get some dinner, and discovered that street food stalls had popped up along the shopping laneways.  There were heaps of things I’d seen in guides and documentaries, so we were happy to experiment.

There was the tornado.

Glass noodles (made of sweet potato I think), dumplings and hot and spicy rice cake (Tteokbokki). But we could only fit in the noodles.

There were also some amazing rose shaped ice creams.  The people in this store literally scooped up ice cream and shaped it into petals.  We were tempted to try it, but too full! No space.


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