4.25.2013

A Week in Korea Part 2

I have become quite accustomed to traveling by myself over the last couple of years and really enjoy it. I like the ease of getting to do things on my time, see what I'd like to see and I like the added challenge that being by yourself creates. However, every now and again I am caught in a moment, an experience that is so incredible, and I just look around and wish I had someone I loved by my side. I could be swimming in the ocean off a remote island in the Philippines, standing at the top of a tower in Seoul, nearly dying on a hike in the jungle or giving a huge hug to my kids in Lakhtokia and sometimes I just feel like I want so badly to share those moments. None of this makes me any less grateful for every single experience I have had on this crazy journey, nor will it keep me from moving forward and exploring every corner of the earth I can reach. I just think that as I'm getting older I am realizing that life is really, really awesome (I already fully believed that) and that maybe getting to share that life with someone is getting back on my list of future dreams (the revelation). I guess my last few days in Korea when Bree was at work or when I travelled south by myself made me think about all of this again!

On Wednesday I took the train down to the southern city of Busan. It is the second largest city in South Korea but it feels worlds different compared to Seoul. I stayed in a hostel called HiKorea, and I highly recommend it! The staff was super friendly and because it is kind of off season, I had the whole room to myself! I went to Busan to see the beach and it was beautiful even if it was freezing cold. Busan is on the East China Sea and Japan is really really close. I had the urge to jump in and swim to Japan but obviously, that's just crazy! I ate sushi that night in the biggest mall in the world, I found the mall itself extremely overwhelming so I didn't walk around at all but boy did I enjoy that dinner.

The next morning I woke up and headed for a full day of temples. The first stop was Beomeosa, which is a city temple but nestled in the hills. I expected it to be really busy there but actually it was quiet, peaceful and relaxing. I wandered to each small prayer room, drank fresh mountain water and spent a long time walking around listening to prayers echoing into the forest. I had the free temple lunch which was basic and delicious before going to Haedong Yonggungsa which is on the ocean. All I can say is... I was filled with so much excitement when I turned the corner and saw the temple! It was unlike anything I have ever seen. I LOVE the ocean and/or any body of water so the combo of a temple and the ocean was almost more than I could handle! The downside was that as opposed to Beomeosa, Yonggungsa had huge tourist groups walking through it so it was actually a bit difficult to find peace there. There were a few quiet spots but mostly there were a lot of people, wandering around everywhere. I soaked up what I could and then it was time to part ways with Busan and head back to Seoul. 
 (In Korea, a left facing svastika is used to identify Buddhist temples and is thought of as the heart seal of Buddha. It is an auspicious symbol that is seen throughout Asia. In Hinduism it is usually right facing)


Fresh mountain water. Yes, I drank it! 



Baby Buddhas


Temple food!
Yonggungsa... breathtaking

Friday I found myself winding up all of the little tasks I had. I wanted to get people some souvenirs, go back to Jogyesa, and a few little cafes so it was filled with a lot of walking around Seoul! When the sun went down I took the metro and then a shuttle up to Namsan Tower, the highest point in Seoul which overlooks the whole city. The view up there was awesome but don't get tricked into buying an expensive ticket up to the observatory  There is a great observation deck that's free, it is also where people come with their loved ones to leave a lock with a message on it. I didn't leave one, but how fun would it be to do that and then come back again sometime in your life and find it? This was definitely a moment I wished I was there with a partner, I am not romantic usually but this was just so sweet! 

A second round at Snob Cafe in Hapjeong

Thousands of locks line the observatory deck

Namsan Tower

Saturday morning Bree and I woke up and headed to Cafe Street in Bundang! It involved transit through Gangnam (like the song hehe) and one of the fanciest subway tunnels I have ever been in! It was rainy that day and I had my luggage with me so we didn't get to spend as much time as we would have liked but we had an awesome breakfast of sweet potato and green tea lattes and Belgian waffles. Oh my, were they yummy! Then on the way to the airport we stopped and got some last macaroons from Laduree. Those babies lasted me the whole way back to India! 





Korea was amazing, I loved learning how to read it and I am continuing to study and learn how to speak it so I can go back someday! It was a great week and I am so grateful for amazing friends all over the world that let me crash their homes and explore their countries!!

5 comments:

  1. SO many beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. I'm glad you got a picture of the locks! I didn't take one, for some reason, when I went to Namsan Tower... I regret it, now. I'll have to take Robyn there when we go back to Korea, and snap a pic! Sounds like you had a great time :)

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    1. Yes definitely take him there! It was so sweet with all the families and couples!

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  3. Beautiful trip! I know what you mean about wanting to share moments with people/have romantic moments when you see others doing it. Still, at least you didn't have to waste time doing what others wanted to. I'm suuuuuuuuuuuuper jealous.

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    1. SO grateful for all of the experiences I've had in the last two years that luckily those moments/feelings pass as quickly as they come!

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