Friday, April 11, 2014

Seoul, Part 1

Back from my first trip to South Korea. Seoul is a very modern city. I'll start by writing about my flight. I left on a Wednesday afternoon on Ethiopian Airlines. I spent the whole time at the airport being conflicted about whether or not I should eat a meal at the airport. Every time I go, I want to eat at fried chicken at Popeye's. But I usually end up gawking at the prices and walk away. I ended up getting a drink and muffin at Starbucks because I was worried that there wouldn't be food on the plane. I noticed the large amount of Hong Kong and Korean people at the waiting area when I finally got to the terminal. There even seemed to be a tour group. And indeed, the flight wasn't very full when we got on. In fact, I don't even think the first class/business class area was ever occupied. Anyway, everything was normal and they even served a meal.

I got to Seoul at around 8pm and walked around the airport and got money, something to drink, and found my way to the subway station. They had two different trains, one of which is an express train. This express train was not part of the research I did on how to get to the airport so I didn't take it. There weren't a lot of people around on a weekday night so it took me a while to figure out if I was entering the right gate. The train from the airport was really fancy and had blinking lights that show you where you are along the line. I had to transfer to another line and this second one was much busier and definitely not as new as the airport line. By the time I got to the station where Yalu and friends where staying, it was around 10pm. I saw a Dunkin Donuts as I was getting out of the station and they had the cutest donuts! I got this bear one.

I got to the hotel and the hotel guy was just showing me where the huge bunch of MIT kids went for dinner when I saw Mike coming down the street. So I had a nice Korean BBQ dinner with them where they basically took up the entire restaurant. The restaurant stayed open late for them because their flight was late.

The next day, they went on tours and I went around Seoul on my own. I was pretty lazy and didn't managed to get up until 10am. This is happens every time I travel on my own. I had a nice breakfast at a cafe across the street that roasts their own coffee. You can basically expect free wifi at every cafe.

Then I took the subway near this big park where the N Seoul Tower is. There is a cable car where you can take it to the top of the hill where the tower is located. But the cable car is kind of big and it didn't seem like you would have very good views if you were crammed in with other people. There weren't a lot of people when I went but I chose to hike up instead. There are many very well kept trails within the park. Many of them have concrete and stone stairs. Trees and flowers are starting to bloom.

View of the city:

N Seoul Tower:

Art pieces using cans and other recyclable material:

On the way down I took a small trail and it took me forever to find the nearest subway station after getting out of the park.

I was pretty tired after walking around all day and got back to the hotel just as the MIT gang was leaving for dinner. I found dinner around the area and read a book for the rest of the night. 

1 comment:

yalu said...

Ooh express train. I bet that would have been a lot faster. Google maps said it would take a long time to get from Incheon to Yeoksam, but it took forever!

I felt kind of bad that the Korean BBQ place had to stay open late - I thought the servers looked pretty tired. But I guess it was best for all parties - we got fed, and they got paid. It was a large group. Turned out that was the only time we had Korean BBQ!

Ooh, the recyclable art is pretty neat. I don't think I understood what that was from looking at just your pictures.