Thursday, December 24, 2015

to Seoul and back - more of day 2!

My walk out of Bukchon Hanok Village included some fantastic views of the surrounding city, as the village is up on a hill. More fall foliage, modern buildings, old temples... Such a stunning place.

Since I had only had a late breakfast and a coffee, it was most definitely time for an early dinner! I was starving! And, again, I had to consider too many options! I wanted to try everything! But I settled for a place that offered a seaweed noodle soup with clam. Delicious! And hearty! And I had never had this! So a total win. 

There was one last thing I wanted to see before I went to bed (next day I had to work!) - a lantern festival that was taking place at a river/stream. But on my map there appeared a temple half-way there, and I couldn't resist taking a peek! 

And I'm glad I did and visited Jogyesa, a 14th century temple of the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism. It too was lit with countless lanterns! Most of them red, some in the shapes of fish and other things. I wasn't allowed to take photos inside the hall, so I sat inside for a while, admiring the place, and then went outside to take some pictures. And in the meantime, some closed-door ceremony was going on in an adjacent building and you could hear drums and some music! It was a really nice experience, seeing the temple lit like this at night, hearing the drums...

Plus, on my way out, I noticed more lanterns at the entrance gate. Fantastic!

From there, and really tired but not wanting to miss it, I reached Cheonggyecheon Stream. It was packed with people strolling along its banks and enjoying the sight of all sorts of lanterns! It was so busy they were not letting any more people below, but I walked along the stream at street level and the views were great too, since you could see the stream, the lanterns and the city! Plus, it was beginning to rain a bit, so it was easier to run for cover at street level, LOL. 

Somewhat wet from the rain, and with my feet and back hurting from all the walking, I decided I would do one more thing - hit a sauna! It felt so good sitting in a Finnish-style one, relaxing... And I even got to practise some Chinese, as two of the guys in there were from Taiwan and Mainland China! That was pretty cool and unexpected! It reminded me of how much time I lived in China, and the kind of rapport I feel when I can speak some Mandarin Chinese. 

To end the day, I finally made it back to the area near my hotel, and went to the same place I had dinner at the night before. But it was really tough to order! I had this long exchange with the staff, an exchange where it was obvious nobody was understanding anybody, and in the end they brought me the same dish from the night before. Which was OK, but I was dying for some soup. It took quite a bit of more gesturing and unintelligible exchanges, but in the end I got my impossibly spicy tofu soup with mussels.  

And for dessert? I went to a café called White Chocolate, not far from there, and had a delicious mocha orange iced latte, and some cheesecake! Yeah, after that spicy soup? I can't remember how my stomach reacted, but it can't have been too bad, because all I remember is that I really enjoyed everything! 

And with that, a day of touring and eating that lasted from 8:30am to past midnight, I was ready to take on next day's work! yay! 

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