So I’ve been quiet; quietly nursing hangovers and enjoying midday wake ups. I have no photos or videos of my time out in Seoul’s bustling nightlife but it was mighty enjoyable, it’s probably for the best anyway – you don’t want to see me dance…unless… (See photo below)
We started the day late, it’s our thing. Somehow we still managed to navigate our way through the millions of jewellery stores to find the Jongmyo Shrine. What we didn’t know was that you can only see it via a tour – a foreigners only tour which didn’t start for 40 minutes. So we wandered the suburb for a bit while we waited. We weren’t really that interested in doing a tour, in fact this was the first of my entire trip, but for $1 we decided why not? It was run by a lovely Korean lady who was so polite you could have made a successful drinking game out of how many times she said ‘please’.
The Shrine is UNESCO heritage listed and it is lovely, but quite plain and bare, but that is due to the fact the Koreans firmly believe as a solemn shrine that houses the souls of their royalty there should not be any decoration or ornaments.
In these videos you can see a set off darkened tiles leading to the centre doors of the shrines. These are raised spirit roads for the souls of the deceased kings and queens, and you are not to step on them. You might also notice in several videos an incredibly rude individual who continually stood on them. He was so rude in fact he even paused for a full minute to take the perfect Instagram photo…nothing like destroying peoples cultural beliefs for a few likes huh?
During the tour I bumped into an Austrian (Not Australian), Vera. She was warm and lovely and soon we were a small group headed for lunch. We weren’t hungry but we watched her eat as we got to know one another and wrote in our diaries, because we’re real men. After that it was off for coffee before Bram and I decided an afternoon listening to music at Vinyl & Plastic would be the perfect way to wind down, and then amp up again before heading out into Hongdae. We were right, it’s such a fantastic place to relax I can’t talk it up enough.
We had dinner at BIG BOY BBQ, which we figured we should do due to not having had BBQ in Korea yet. While it isn’t your typical Korean BBQ the food was superb. The owner/host was a lovely German man who took to us like white on rice, claiming I looked like a celebrity and chit chatting with Bram in quasi-german/dutch before filling our bellies with delicious chicken. If you are hungry and in Itaewon, give it a go! It’s relatively cheap for what you get, which is a massive food coma.
Then it was an Australian’s favourite time of the day Beer O’Clock. This was made difficult due to the sheer amount of food we had just consumed, but still possible. We had to meet up with my South Korean friend from Australia Sungjun in Hongdae, of course we were late.
He helped us weave our way through the backstreets to the club he recommended, NB2. It was awesome to say the least, and I’m not much for clubbing. It was packed, and suddenly we were popular – which was a strange turn around from being ignored on the street. I danced my way to 5am and it was quite a great night, even though Sungjun left us early. If you can get over the fact that there is cigarette smoke everywhere (they smoke in the club) then I recommend you give Hongdae a visit.
Naturally our next day was pretty quiet, we both woke up around 1pm, and neither of us had the energy to repeat business so it was a do nothing, say nothing kind of day.
Today was a different matter. Got up late (just expect that from now on) and went into the centre of Seoul again to visit the Hounginjimun gate. Unfortunately, as is the case everywhere in Winter it was under repair and it was barely visible, but we still managed to make fools of ourselves over coffee.
Afterwards we trekked to the Cheongyeoncheon Stream which is a lovely little waterway that runs through the middle of Seoul and makes for a nice change to street after street of market stalls and crowds.
We followed that till our station was close enough and headed back across town to the Noryangjin Fish Market. It was a sight to behold really. I am not a fan of all the live Octopus and various sea creatures sitting in little tubs, but if you’re into fresh seafood and don’t mind paying through the nose for it this is the place to visit.
We returned home to eat and pre-drink, tonight is another party night, wish us luck!