Final days in Seoul: City Hall, free Hanbok, strange fruit tea, foreign bookstore…
2nd and 3rd July 2013. Time flies. We are leaving for Taiwan on Wednesday!
So we did feel like taking in some last impressions of South Korea’s capital. Since we lived so close, we thought it would be a good idea to see the origin of the fascinating and costly city project, the Cheonggyecheon – a reanimated stream running through Seoul.
Location: Cheonggye Plaza. Get off at Gwanghwamun Station, exit 5.
The plaza is marked by this sculpture – a spiral inspired by shells, by Van Bruggen and Oldenburg. The weather was getting more and more cloudy, windy and rainy.
Cheonggyecheon stream starts right here and moves through the city flanked by modern walkways.
A sign said that if you throw in a coin, the money will go charity.
There is a fun interactive screen where you can take your picture and send it to everyone you know. It was so windy, I apologize to everyone who got our unkempt picture card.
Good we took an umbrella with us.
Suspiciously many people were wearing wellies. Koreans are great at forecasting the weather.
Wellies are not just functional they are a fashion statement.
Pyjamas are fashionable in the rainy season as well.
Pyjamas and wellies are best suited for stormy weather because this is what happens to dresses.
We saw another interesting sculpture called Winner’s Face.
The rain was starting and suddenly stopping (typical Asian rainy season), which provided an opportunities to hide in a café and enjoy green tea latte.
No tipping and a buzzer. Seoul is all about modern service.
Despite the rain it is always hot and humid. The perfect season for ice cream. I swear that kid with the glasses did not pull his cone out of his nostril.
See! The ice man did!
Palace soap is incredibly popular and when I think about all the Joseon palaces, Seoul offers perfect filming locations for royal drama.
We hoped to do some Hanbok dress-up, an activity provided for tourists for free at MPlaza, where you can also visit a popular restaurant chain serving School Food.
Location of Myeongdong Tourist Information Center: 31-1 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu (M Plaza 5th Floor, Seoul Global Culture and Tourism Center).
As we walked in the dress-up corner had closed. The tourist centre was still open for another half an hour, the dresses were hanging and staff was sitting around, still they closed the Hanbok dress up experience 30 min before they closed the tourist info place.
The dresses and pants (they have costumes for men, too) are not complicated to put on, they were the cheap looking costumes.
As long as the lady at the counter took to explain that it is closed, that you have to register but that you cannot do that in advance, we would have been done and long gone. We noticed that places and shops usually close earlier in Seoul than what they have on the door signs.
Come early for a free costume photo session.
So we treated ourselves to the best burger ever. The last visit to Kraze Burger. This time we tried an exotic fruit drink, from a fruit that sounded like a Russian surname: Maximowiczia. It was served cold with ice and tasted a bit like fruity ice tea. We were told this tea had five flavours. It tasted a bit sweet and sort of spicy and bitter and I thought that nothing really beats one-flavour juices.
The next day we said goodbye to Seoul’s City Hall with its impressive modern architecture.
Right underneath City Hall, in an underground mall, we found a unique foreign book store, mainly with English books but other European languages as well.
The owner was trying to convince us that he was going to put up shelves to sort his books. He was really friendly and just reading a book about Poland, he said.
A lot of choice here guaranteed.
These were our last days in Seoul. Byyyeeee Byyyyeeee!