Then we went to lunch at La Bab. It was time for some Korean food - and this teeny tiny chain restaurant is one of my daughter's favorite's for a quick meal. You order at the computer and your food is brought to your table. She ordered for us, of course, and we dined on kimchi, dumplings, donkkaseu (pork cutlet), spam and rice, radishes and gimbap (Korea's version of sushi). I'm sure there was more as our table was full of food but that's what I remember! And it was all delicious. Except the kimchi - I'm just not a fan.
Now that we were sufficiently full, we headed back to the park we went to on our first day to take a leisurely boat ride down the Han River. Unfortunately, the air quality index was extremely poor. I'm told it's the "yellow dust" from China and it's particularly bad in the spring. So we ditched the boat ride idea and headed for the fish market.
The Noryangjin Fish Market is open 24 hours and sells wholesale and retail. Though popular with tourists, this fish market is the real deal. It's humongous - and you can buy just about anything from the sea here. And almost everything is alive - so it's the freshest seafood you can purchase.You can also take your purchase up the escalator and eat it immediately - including live octopus which is still swimming around and moving on the plate. I understand that purchasing is done through haggling and bargaining and is quite the spectacle to watch. We were still full from our lunch so we didn't make any purchases - though Mr. UR really wanted to try the octopus. We walked the aisles and took in the scenery - including watching an octopus escape a tank and slither down the side. He was making a getaway!
After our experience at the fish market, we took the subway to an entirely different kind of place. Dongdaemun Design Plaza was designed by the famed architect Zaha Hadid ( mother of ) This futuristic plaza consists of five halls: the Art Hall, Museum, Design Lab, Design Market and the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park. Famous for it's LED roses that are lit at night, we were there during the day so we didn't see them lit up. If you're into architecture, or design, this is the place for you. We wandered around a bit taking in the buildings but we were getting a bit thirsty so it was time to head to one of Seoul's coffee shops.
Coffee shops are all the rage in Seoul. They're for hanging out, meet ups, doing schoolwork and actually drinking coffee.
We had a late afternoon pick-me-up at a coffee shop near the start of the walk of Seoul's City Wall. Built around the original city of Seoul, the City Wall is the largest remaining wall in the world. Built when the Joseon dynasty moved the capital to Seoul, this wall was anchored by four gates which allowed one entry into the city. Originally built for defense, there is now a trail next to the wall for easy walking and views. We started the steep walk uphill and made our way to the City Wall. Not gonna lie - it was steep! But it was also short and before we knew it we were looking at a view of the city. We made our way down through the mural laden area called Iwha-dong which was once an ancient village and is now popular for it's murals.
After all that walking, it was maybe time to eat again. Since, I'm always up for pizza we headed to an Italian restaurant and had some delicious dinner.( And apparently we saw a famous, older Korean actor on our way to dinner! Who knew? Definitely not me!)
We were incredibly lucky that we were in Seoul for Buddha's birthday and the Lotus Lantern Festival. A sea of stunning lanterns light up the night sky celebrating Buddha's birthday along with a parade with lanterns. It's celebrated in three places: Jogyesa Temple, Bongeunsa Temple and along Cheonggyecheon Stream. We were waiting for nightfall to visit the Stream and see the lit lanterns over the water. As expected, the celebration was very popular and crowded. We walked along the stream enjoying the lights and being out at night amongst all the Korean families. It was a really special evening. But by now us old folks were pretty tired - and jet lag is real. So the youngsters put us in a cab and we headed for the hotel after an extremely full day.
How about you? Have you been to Seoul?
This post is part of a link-up with: The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute!