Our first full day in Seoul we started out with -8 degrees and waffles on the roof of our hostel. Part of it is open and the blokes (as they shall henceforth be known) are using the space as a bit of a workshop for the downstairs reno. Then there has been a small room knocked up with a sink, heater etc which is the kitchen. It makes me think of the sort of set up my dad would put together if he built a shed to live in.
First stop was Gangnam (no, not to do the dance) - Kate (Roper) had an appointment there.
From there we were off to see Bongeunsa Temple - which is a large Buddhist temple complex in Seoul. Turned out they have a guided tour for foreigners at 2pm so we hauled ass out of there for a couple of hours to the Coex Building. Coex is huge, apparently they have an aquarium and a grand ballroom stashed away in there somewhere, but it takes you 15 minutes of walking down hallways to get from place to place so unless you're going for something specific (like lunch, which we were) I think it'd be kinda boring.
Our temple tour in the afternoon was awesome. Tour guide was great, explaining some basics of Buddhism, showing us around all the place and explaining lots of the paintings that were on the walls. Tour also included tea ceremony (beautiful), paper lotus making (I suck at crafts) and zen meditation on the question of 'who am I?' (distraction is everywhere).
In the evening we went to see a Nanta performance. Nanta is a musical performance set in a kitchen, involving some comedy and audience participation alongside the musical element. It was amazing! Kate R, Emily and I were all hauled up on stage to participate - I won a dumpling-making competition!
Day two started with toast and coffe on the roof. We then travelled to ... to walk around a neighborhood that is made up of traditional Korean houses. Very beautiful and a big contrast between this neighborhood and the skyline of the city in the background. We visited a gallery that lets you try your hand at traditional art - I did a paint-by-numbers fan which was fun and (because I was not using any of my own creativity) turned out pretty well.
We then walked to ... which is sort of the touristy area of Seoul. Here there are a lot of stores selling momento sort of things. Basically, SO MUCH SHOPPING WAS HAD. There was also Indian food, which was nice. But, y'know, shopping.
In the evening we had a few drinks at the hostel playing Cards Against Humanity - which is amazing by the way. Hostel staff had managed to install the wood heayer at this stage and were celebrating with a smoke filled room, poor ventilation and roasted chestnuts and sweet potato. Then we caught the subway over to ... which is in the university district and has a bit of night life. Long story short, $2 gin and tonics and $2 shots of tequila are bad for you. Not a late night though as planned to visit the Korean War Memorial next day.
Day three began with McDonald's and seediness.
Still made it to the War Memorial in the morning though.