Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Big City Life

We have been living it up in the big cities these past two weekends. First it was Busan and then it was Seoul! I love big cities, there is something so mesmerising about them!

We took an overnight train with some friends so that we would have a full Saturday in Busan. That was fun! Busan is awesome because it is a big city mixed with a wonderful coastal life. It is relaxed and busy. We went out near one of their universities and it was buzzing with life and things to do...it made our little Wonju look old and slow (which comes with its own perks). Gwangalli Beach in Busan remains one of my favourite places in Korea with its beautiful views, weather, and food! And unlike our summer visit to Haeundae Beah, this time we could see the sand and coastal line. It was great!!!
Beautiful Gwangalli

Posing in Busan

 Then there is Seoul. The mother city. A megalopolis that is awe inspiring. Even though we have been to Seoul many times, we have never gone to Seoul for the sake of being touristy. We have always found ourselves there with friends, or part of a festival, or as a stop over on the way to somewhere else. Yes, we have made a point of seeing things in Seoul but we have never we dedicated a whole weekend to going to the touristy sites of Seoul. Unlike our trip to Busan which was centred around food, drink and relaxation we prepared ourselves for a lot of walking and sight-seeing in Seoul.

We saw and did a lot, including walking down Insadong, having fun in a hoarders paradise, and visiting the Namdaemun, a 600 year old market (apparently the oldest in Asia) which was huge and packed with so many different people, smells, and things to eat!

A museum packed with everything from our childhoods.

One of the many crowded market areas

Then it was off to Namsan tower. Yes, believe it or not, we have been here for 11 months and have never gone up the tower which offers one of the best views of the city. We strategically chose to go up just before sunset so that we could see the city during the day and at night. The view was amazing but not as good as it could have been because Seoul was having one of its yellow days (Murphy's law). It was wonderful nonetheless and we spent well over an hour up there having coffee and soaking up the awesomeness that is Seoul!

I couldn't capture the view from the tower if I tried.

Then we got lost for two hours, my bad! But eventually found a banging restaurant with some delectable Samgyeopsal. We chowed down and had some beer to end off the day!

The touring was not yet done. On Sunday we went to the War Museum which was massive...we didn't even go inside the museum as the displays outside had enough to keep us busy for a while and with the weather being exceptional it seemed the obvious choice to stay outdoors.  We strolled in-between all war planes, tanks, helicopters, ships and artillery.

Bits and pieces from the war museum

After spending a long while there we headed to the Han River. Another place I am sad to report that I had never gone to. We bought some beer, relaxed while people rode their bikes around us and watched the sun set over Seoul. This was somewhat symbolic as this will be the last time we get to tour the streets of Seoul. The fact that our contracts are coming to an end is becoming more and more apparent and we are sad!

Walking around in big cities like Busan or Seoul is awesome!! You never know what to expect and every experience is different to the last!!!

Post by Claudia


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