* This post is written by Gisela Verdin, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.
Hi everyone!, as you know last week I traveled to Korea for a tour among other WKB bloggers, first I would like to thank KOCIS (KoreaNet) for inviting us on this wonderful trip and for recognizing our work as bloggers : )
A special thanks to Suh, Jeong Sun (Director – Global Command Contents), Kim, Jae Sook (Deputy Director – Korea.net Unit), Han Jeon, Cathy and Grace for such a warm welcome!
I had a great time in Korea, remember I posted about Expectation/Reality?, well for a moment I turned into this Kpop fan and wanted to escape to stalk GD lol…but I’m glad I didn’t, I just got my CD and walked out of that Hallyusphere to enjoy what would be one THE BEST trips ever, I honestly wasn’t expecting to have as much fun as I did and Since we did quite a LOT I’m going to have to make separate posts about the trip.
My journey started on September 17th at 10 pm, I took a 10 hour flight to Amsterdam and after a transfer time of 3 hours I took my final flight to Seoul, this time I flew with KLM and I’m glad I did because they offer great service J, my transfer time went by very quickly, after wondering around the Airport stores for a bit I went to my departure Gate and met 2 Peruvian guys who were traveling to Korea to go to an Electronics convention in Gwangju, this was also their 2nd time in Korea. We were moved to another gate to prepare for boarding and there I met what I thought was a Korean Student, turns out he works for Samsung and was on a business trip, poor guy he got a book at the Airport and they gave it to him in Dutch instead of English and they didn’t want to change it for him : ( , we exchanged business cards (I feel so professional lol) and then it was time to board!… 10 hours later we landed at Incheon 40 minutes earlier than scheduled and I was ready to go, everything looked different this time, 2 years ago I went on winter and I was on my own at the airport, so I was very focused in getting into the right bus plus I was freezing. This time the weather was really nice, and there was a driver waiting for me already, we walked to the parking lot and in that short walk I realized how different this trip would be….
We got on the car and I just enjoyed the view and the smell; this time Korea had a smell…I don’t think the 1st time I noticed a smell but this time definitely had it and it was a combination of Korean food and something in the air, we passed the 63 Building and the Noryangjin fish market (I’ve always wanted to go there for some fresh food), I recognized some buildings and street, somehow I just felt at home (is that weird?~~I think it is…)
It took almost 1 hour driving to arrive at the hotel…the IP Boutique Hotel in Itaewon (Seoul), an area full of Coffee Shops, Bars and Clubs, the hotel is very nice and modern, the restaurant has an outdoor area and the lobby has SWINGS!!!!!! The rooms are pretty cool, each one is different as they all have something painted in the wall, the 1st room I was in had a giant Strawberry and the 2nd one had a pair of Converse, when I arrived Maria from Indonesia was already at the room (we were roomies!), she went out with Grace (Our Tour Guide for the trip) to buy some books while I took a
much needed shower and got ready to go out for some sightseeing, around 14:30 I met my friend Jeannette who works for BrandKorea and we went to Caffe Bene for Coffee duh! (this coffee shop is really popular as I saw like 30 the 5 days I was in Korea O_O) and at 3 we went back to the hotel to meet with Maria and Grace.
The 1st thing we’ll do was visiting COEX to go to the Kimchi Museum and I’m glad we did because we passed by a Records store and I got to buy my GDragon CD ~One of a Kind~ and I got a free poster…I felt like such a k-pop fan lol
The Kimchi museum is actually pretty small, but they have all kinds of Kimchi, there are seasonal Kimchis, you can pretty much Kimchify (I know that’s not a word) everything, there’s Kimchi fish O_O who knew??…I was taking a video of this place and we found a cute kid in there, he asked Jeannette to take his picture and then explained he was there because he was something like the Kimchi Ambassador of his school and knows way too much about Kimchi…He was really sweet and even thanked me for blogging about Korea (awww!!!), he then took me to the Kimchi Tasting room and made me taste 8 different kind of Kimchis….ahhh that was some GOOD kimchi, he said that his grandma makes the Kimchi for his family and explained something to me but in Korean…so…I don’t really know what he said : ( (Sorry Kid!!). If you want to visit the Museum, you can also take a class and make your own Kimchi, just go to the museum’s website and check out the activities!
When we were done with the Kimchi museum we decided to take walk to the Temple across Coex, it’s the same temple I visited 2 years ago(remember how I lost all those pics?), it’s the Bongeunsa Temple, well….this time I didn’t lose my pictures, this place is very special for me, the 1st time I visited it I decided I wanted to take my mom there on my next visit to Korea…. I never thought she would not be with us when that happened….I just miss her so much and even though she (somehow) was with me on this trip, it was just sooo hard not to think about her when I was there…*I miss you, moomin*
Right after the temple it was time to go, we had to go back to the Hotel to pick up Ema and Annabel from London to go visit the N Seoul Tower, they write the blog Korean Class Massive and both of them are pretty funny…. Anyway, we went to the N Seoul Tower and took the Namsam Cable Car….yup yup, like Kim Sam Soon (My name is Kim Sam Soon) and Goo Yoon Pyo/Gum Yan Di (BBF), the view was AMAZING!! But the cable car was way too crowded for my liking so I couldn’t take nice pictures : (, we went upstairs and enjoyed the view while waiting for our table to have dinner at Hancook, a Korean restaurant located inside of the tower, but turns out the place was packed and we had to wait 50 minutes to get a table…and it was time we didn’t really have so we had to eat dinner at The Place Dining by the tower, although Italian food would not be my 1st choice for my very 1st dinner in Korea it was a very nice, especially if you go with the one you love as the place has a very romantic atmosphere and the place was filled with couples having Champagne and pretty cakes : )
After dinner we rushed back to the Hotel to meet Han Jeon and Cathy who visited us to prepare us for what would be expecting us the next day.
Later that night I went out to find a payphone to call my friends JoAnna and SangHyun and just explore the area a little bit and I ran into Ema and Annabel, we ended upwalking around Itaewon and found a “very” interesting street with several Love Motels O_o. After our short walk we went back to the hotel and that was it for our 1st day in Seoul….
See?? We did a bunch of things in just 1/2 day…God, I miss Korea u_u