Before I left Toronto to teach ESL in Korea, many of my friends (some leaner than others) told me that I would drop weight like crazy in Korea since the diet is so healthy and full of fermented dishes. While it is true that the traditional dishes can be quite healthy, they they aren’t always, and the ones that are also lack flavour.
Let’s Run: A case where going “Off Track” is a good thing.
The new facilities at the Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel in Seoul, which opened Friday June 3rd, 2016, are clean and quiet. This is a far cry from what I would have imagined having been to some of the casinos throughout Asia. A few juicy details to note before jumping into the nitty-gritty.
In a country the size of Indiana, you would think that the two largest cities would have similar lifestyles. After spending a year in Busan I thought I have conquered Korea enough to hit the capital. Could I have been more wrong?
On Saturday I participated in a press tour organized by the municipality of Seoul in collaboration with the Korean Food Foundation. Seoul Bloggers and Photographers went for a meet, greet, walking tour of the old city, and lunch. I’m so incredibly honoured to have been invited. We had a wonderful day with a great tour guide and I managed to cross off even more places I had been hoping to visit. Having lived in Korea for a year, I’d like to present Round II of my Bucket List, this edition being all Seoul. As I’ve already managed to visit many of the places on my initial list, I’ll give a little information and/or an opinion on each, and then list the remainder at the end. One thing’s for sure – it’s never a dull time living in Seoul!
Korean couples love to get dressed up and wander around the old, traditional towns, as well as the Palaces and the Temples. All this was amplified by the hoopla of Buddha’s Birthday Weekend which has been celebrated as a festival since the Unified Silla era over 1,300 years ago. Yep – he gets the whole weekend, the festival, the parade, and all the beautiful lantern displays at nearly every temple the month leading up to his birthday and for for many, the weeks beyond (at Jogyesa they’ll be around until May 22nd). I guess it’s like leaving your Christmas lights up on your front porch all year long, just a lot less honky-tonk and a lot more beautiful!
After a very relaxing day meandering around Sincheon, we ventured up to the subway and along the green line to Dongdaemun History & Culture Park. This area is one of my favourites already, even though I’ve only explored it for the Indian food (well, Nepalese), and for Seoul Fashion Week. The area is particularly modern because of the architecture surrounding the big Dongdaemun Design Plaza by Dame Zaha Hadid.
We had seen the sea parting once, not knowing it would part two more times again by sundown. Some of us (self included) were a little worried about getting seasick on the boat out to Modo Island, so instead of braving the sea we actually ended up having a leisurely morning getting ready (after a well-deserved, post-parting nap!) before heading down the cherry-blossom lined paths and street over to the festival.
We could see a number of spots we had never explored, one of which was Fountain. The stone staircase looked like it could be a really cool spot, but we were meeting at Ramie’s so we didn’t immediately stop in.
Late last Friday night a mish-mashed group of new and old friends and I boarded a tour bus and took the red-eye nearly 6 hours South of Seoul to spend a weekend in Jindo: the site of “The Miracle Sea Parting” and the accompanying festival. The real miracle was that someone was able to wake me up for our 4 AM briefing and departure from the bus. Once I was up and at ’em, however, I was happy as a clam. We’ll get to those later!
I was pretty much ready to call it quits with designers who had expressed interest in having their Fall/ Winter 2016 styles profiled on The Toronto Seoulcialite, only to still find no tickets in my new mailbox 24 hours before their shows.
When talking about things vacationers must see and do in Korea, I always suggest a baseball game. This is a great way to see a little K-Pop (they have K-Pop dancers as cheerleaders for the baseball team) and the theatrics and displays typical of every day Korean life.
I know that I can’t do it all, but I want to. I’m trying to do it all. I want to soak up every last bit of this wonderful, diverse city, but I also feel like I’m riding a constantly moving merry go ’round and step back every time I’m about to get off.