The downside of having foul and gloomy weather for more than a couple of weeks now is that, instead of going outside enjoying the great outdoors, we stay cooped up inside, with food. Eating, pigging out, then wanting more, and then wishing you could eat something. Alas, you can’t, because it means going out into all that rain. So, you end up just thinking about it. Like I did, when I remembered some of the food that we enjoyed during our trip to Seoul.
On both visits to Seoul, I stayed in the same area: Myeongdong. Why? Because I felt it was the most convenient for my itinerary. The first trip was planned by my friend Peach, so I had no hand in it, but on my next trip, I saw no reason why I shouldn’t find a place to stay in the area. And I picked Namsan Guesthouse.
There are several South Korean things that I am envious about. Their subway system. Their artifacts and relics appreciation and preservation. Their zippy-speedy internet connection. Their skin care products. And their public bathhouses. Yes, your read that right: “public bathhouses”. Or, as they call it, “jjiimjilbang”.
There is always THAT place or landmark that, wherever you are, when you feel disoriented, you just have to look up, spot it, and feel reassured. For me, when I am around the Myeongdong (and neighboring) areas, that landmark would be the N Seoul Tower.
Imagine feeling bored and tired of your usual routine, so you retire to that garden at the back of your house, where you could smell the fresh air, read a book (or even write one), walk for hours along the picturesque trails, sit inside any of the pavilions and be mesmerized by how calm and still the water on the pond is… Oh wait, I suppose you can only do that if (1) you are royalty and (2) you lived during the Joseon era. You can still catch a glimpse of that long-gone era, however, by checking out Huwon, the Secret Garden of Changdeokgung.
Palaces are a staple if you’re visiting Seoul. Or South Korea, in general. In fact, I think you cannot say you’ve made a proper visit to this beautiful country without having visited at least one of these national treasures. Changdeokgung, or Changdeok Palace, is one of these palaces: a well-preserved historical relic of the past and a beautiful reminder of that past in the present. Out of the five major palaces of Joseon, it is the most well-preserved to this day, and that’s partly the reason it was declared another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We always find new hobbies, and we even actively seek them out when things are starting to become “meh~”. But hiking, going out in the great outdoors, and travelling is sure to be a hobby that I will have for a very long time to come. I always stop and savor that feeling of gratefulness for the opportunities that I get to see as much as I can (or as much as my resources would let me). When we reached the peak of Mt. Bukhansan was definitely one of the moments when I felt that gratefulness wash over me. In great waves.