Friday, July 14, 2017

Seoul - Day One

I'm not quite sure when my youngest daughter became obsessed with Korea. It may have started with K-pop. Or watching Korean dramas. But nevertheless, it began. And when her older brother was visiting a friend in Seoul, she paid for her own trip and visited for her first time. That brief visit wasn't enough and she studied abroad at Sogang University in her junior year of college. She lived in an international dorm taking courses in English and drinking lots of soju with friends from all over the world. When she graduated from college, she began interviewing with schools in Korea and she took a position in Seoul teaching English at a private school - called a hagwon - to small children. So I knew for quite some time that at some point I would visit her in Korea - and she would be my guide in a city and country that she loves. 


Seoul airport


Our sunset view from our hotel



We planned our visit for the first week of May when she would have a few days off work for Buddha's birthday and International Childrens Day. Our flight into Seoul landed around 9:30 at night and she was at the airport to greet us and navigate our way to our hotel. We were staying at a Courtyard south of the city as her apartment is a 300 square foot studio with little room for the 3 of us. Travel to our hotel was a blur and I think I fell asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow after 27 hours of travel time.


View from the room

We started the next day with lunch in the mall connected to our hotel. Ironically our daughter had been craving Mexican food - which there isn't a plethora of in Seoul - and there was a Mexican restaurant nearby so we started our visit to Korea with a Tex-Mex meal. 



She took us to one of her favorite hangouts first - Yeouido Hangang Park by the Han River overlooking the city. There were lots of families riding bikes and playing in the water. I was surprised at all the tents set up - in the US the people would be camping and sleeping in them. But here they are for protection from the sun and enjoying the outdoors. We sat by the water and had ice cream - well, H and I did, Mr. UR had a beer. I can see why she likes it so much here. 






















Did you know there is a Little Mermaid statue in Seoul?

Then we headed to a dog cafe. Yep - a dog cafe. When we were discussing some of the things we wanted to do in Seoul, H wanted us to experience an animal cafe. They have dog cafes, cat cafes, owl cafes, and prairie dog cafes. We told her to take us to any of them. So we went to one of her favorite dog cafes. (The dog cafe was in Hongdae or more specifically, Hapjeong)




There are two rooms in the cafe - the front room is for small dogs and the back, and larger, room is for larger dogs. You don't pay a fee to enter but you do buy drinks - I had a smoothie - which is how they earn their income. We sat in a booth in the large dog room and drank our drinks while watching the dogs. There were all different breeds - and some I had never seen before. Patrons are invited to bring their own dogs in also - and there was an outsider dog who was stirring things up. He just wanted to play but I think he was upsetting the apple cart a bit.







Immediately, this cute little dog - who had obviously snuck into the large dog room when no one was looking - jumped up into our booth and attached himself to Mr. UR. He was barking at him like he was talking to him and wouldn't leave his side. And when we left he was watching him and barking at him still. He really had a connection with him!







Our evening was spent in H's favorite bar in the neighborhood of Hongdae.
 I'd love to tell you the name - or it's address - but I couldn't even if I tried. We just call it the Vinyl Record Bar because there is a DJ spinning records and album covers are on the wall. We arrived early - cause we're old and jet lag is real - so it wasn't crowded yet. The barmaid gave us snacks - something that looked like packing peanuts - and seaweed. We weren't a fan of either but H likes them both. As the bar grew more crowded, the patrons started singing along and were having a great time. But as I said, jet lag is real so we took a stroll around the very crowded Hongdae area and then headed back to the hotel. 







Bar snacks


A very crowded Hongdae

It was a good first day. But as any mom whose children live far away - small or grown - know that a day with your kids is always a good day!



This blog is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox and Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute!



 


12 comments:

  1. You ended the post in such a sweet way. Glad you were able to visit your daughter. One of my coworkers went to Seoul recently (same thing, his son lives there) and he can't stop raving about the place. He said all the food was great! #TPThursday

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  2. Thanks Ruth! And I really enjoyed Seoul - great city and your co-worker is right, great food!

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  3. I always wished that my parents had come over to visit when I was living in Malaysia, so I'm sure that your daughter was very happy to show the 2 of you the place that she calls home. That park looks so pretty that I can see why she likes it. When we lived in Asia, we also craved Tex-Mex food and always made a point of seeking it out whenever we were in a big Asian city. #WkendTravelInspiration

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    1. I know my daughter will be eating lots of Tex-Mex when she comes back to the States - I guess we crave what we can't always have! I'm very happy that we were able to go visit her and make it happen - I love seeing the places that she tells me about when we Skype. Thanks for visiting, Michele!

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  4. It looks like you had a lovely visit. There's never a lack of things to do here, and the weather is so nice in May. Thanks for linking up this week. #TPThursday

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    1. It was a lovely visit - I enjoyed Korea very much. And our weather was good except for the "yellow dust from China" as everyone said. We skipped the N. Seoul Tower as there were no views. Thanks for visiting - and for the link-up!

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  5. I've heard of cat cafes but not dog (or prairie dog). I have not been to Korea but it sounds like you have an excellent guide. Family is the best.

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    1. Family is the best! Thanks for visiting, Rhonda!

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  6. So true. Spending a day with our kids is always special. The Dog Cafe was interesting. I guess if people can't have their own dogs they would be very welcome.

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    1. My daughter loves the dog cafe and has been back several times since. And it was very interesting. Thanks for visiting, Jan!

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  7. I love her dedication and making her dream of living in Korea a reality. So glad you got to visit the city and such interesting places. My kids would love that dog cafe. What a great experience for all of you! Would love to visit Seoul one of these days.

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    1. I'm pretty proud of her also - she went for it and made it happen! The dog cafe was a hoot, especially when one of them tried to drink our drink - with a straw! Thanks for visiting, Mary!

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