This day marks the best day of my life to date.
I remember that one night in Seoul when I was furiously writing down on the little notebook I brought with me all the events that took place over the day. My musings started out the night we landed to the heartlessly cold land of Seoul until the 2nd night I have to sleep through the pain my feet were feeling due to excessive walking and shockingly cold weather. I was aching for the country where I was currently in – I was already there but I’m barely feeling it. I thought, “Ah, maybe trying to write my feelings down onto paper would make it feel more real.”
But it didn’t, it still felt like dreaming until the day I got back to my room and sorted out the photos. And right now, I can’t even remember where I placed that notebook I bore down my feelings into. So I have to relinquish the time I spent there now. I think I’ll have to brace my heart for all these feels.
Day 1 was all about:
(first legit) Korean restaurant
Cheonggyecheon Stream (Cold Eyes filming location)
N Seoul Tower (Boys Over Flowers filming location)
가자! [Let’s go!]
Would you believe it if I told you that flying to Seoul was also my first time riding a plane? I was so excited I think my battery almost died (lol) of all my by-the-window-seat photos. But it’s so gorgeous! Our flight was a 4PM to 8PM one so we were able to catch the sunset up in the sky!
First days are for testing waters and trying to fit yourself into an oddly shaped container you haven’t seen before. I was strangely excited to try everything I used to just see on my laptop screen but I loved it, I loved every single minute I spent trying to figure out how the new things around me worked even if sometimes I’ll have to embarrass myself in front of the locals. This includes excitedly punching in my transportation card to buses and trains and exhaling all the fog I can.
First stop was to marvel on the beauty of 500-year-old palaces in Seoul. It’s not very difficult to look for them for they sprout right about in every corner of the city. They’re contrasting with the modern buildings which I think makes the city unique.
[Fast fact: Gyeongbokgung Palace is 620 years old and was the main royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty]
Unfortunately there weren’t stalls who offer you to wear a hanbok maybe because of the ruthlessly cold weather. Very well, there’ll be a next time for that in spring maybe? ;-)
First real Korean restaurant
After some photos and strolling around the palace, we started looking for a place to eat. We found this small restaurant squeezed in between small alleyways nearby so we decided to check it out. There were military soldiers dining along with us, but they were just a bunch of men drinking with each other. In the morning. During lunch time. Yes. Haha!
It was such a thrilling experience to try food where it originally came from and I could only say one thing: they were loads spicier than the ones I’m used to here!
We didn’t know where else to go so we strolled around shops that would require you to have millions in your pocket (literally) to be able to buy a petty fur coat. I am not kidding. I saw this gorgeous fur coat thinking it’s about time I own one while I shrieked cause I’ll be buying it from Seoul even. But I internally shrieked louder cause it freakin’ costs P15,000. I am poor. Lol. While we were just strolling around we accidentally bumped into Cheonggyecheon stream which wasn’t in our itinerary. In retrospect, nothing was actually. Haha!
During the time we were here, I didn’t even “fangirl” much about this place. I was just happily strolling, my heart leaping with me because we’re finally in Seoul. However, after a few months when I was already back home, I started watching this film titled “Cold Eyes”. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know how I like binge watching Korean heist films and dramas. I endlessly watched it for 2 months when suddenly my attention was captured by a certain scene where this exact place was shown. My mind was screaming, “I WAS THERE ONCE I WAS THERE!!!”. So maybe the next time I visit this place, I’ll have a better perspective about it (and colder eyes, kidding).
N Seoul Tower
To be honest, this was the highlight of our trip for me. I’ve been dreaming about this place ever since I saw its glory in Boys Over Flowers, where Gu Jun Pyo waited for 4 hours for Jan Di. But the Namsan Tower is not only famous as the shooting location of Boys Over Flowers, couples also frequent the place to profess their love for each other by hanging in locks with their names written on it. People have been quick to catch up on this trend and have even put up cellphone cases with longer letters to each other. So sweet! If you want to visit N Seoul Tower, you could do so by: walking, taking a cab or bus, or my favorite, by cable car! We went to the place by bus but went down through a cable car. It was a short, sweet experience but I’d definitely do it again!
So that’s it for our Day 1 in Seoul, South Korea last January 2014. Update: I’ve also posted Day 2! :-)
Have you ever been to Seoul or South Korea? What places did you visit? I’m planning on another trip probably next year so opinions are very much welcome! You can check out Day 2 here! :-)