Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Autumn Leaves In Seoul

It was my first time to see autumn leaves in Seoul.


I am still in love with Seoul.

The weather was perfect for me!

When I got to Incheon Airport,

I saw all my "planemates" zipping up their jackets and/or coats.

The temperature was 10C and I was still in my sleeveless tunic dress.

But while I was waiting for the Airport Limousine Bus outside the terminal,

I felt a little cold and had to cover my neck with my scarf.

As usual, I checked into my favorite hotel, New Kukje Hotel.

The location is along the main road.

It is within walking distance from the following sight seeing places like the palaces, City Hall, train station, Cheonggyecheon stream and Myeongdong shopping area.

As soon as I entered the hotel, the front desk staff greeted me and said, "Welcome back, Ms. Imperial!"  He remembered me!

After dropping off my luggage in my room, I went down and looked for a nearby dining place that was still open at 10 in the evening.

I found a Chicken and Beer place.

I just ordered the Sweet and Spicy Fried Chicken with pickled radish.

Oh my Goodness! I think they chopped up a whole chicken and fried it!

The serving was huge.  I could only eat about 4 small pieces.  I had the rest put in a take out box, brought it back to the hotel and asked the front desk staff to give it to someone they know who might want it.

As I got ready for bed, the temperature was dropping and dropping.  I did not switch on the heater but opened the window instead.

I therefore conclude, the best sleeping  temperature for me is 8C degrees!

Usually, with a 16-18C temp, I would just use a thin flat blanket.  But with 8C.... wow... it was perfect!

I have not used a comforter in years!!! But in Seoul, not only did I use a comforter but I used my flannel blanket also.

When I woke up, it was still cold.  Even Sia, my traveling companion, did not want to get up from bed.

If I could, I would have stayed in bed all day.  But... no can do!

Dunkin Donuts was my number 1 must eat food in Seoul!

One of the reasons why I had to go back to Seoul.

I love their donuts!

It is soft and moist.

And the jam filling was generous unlike the ones that we have here in Manila.

I had a strawberry filled donut from Krispy Kreme before I left and it took a while before I got to taste the meager jam filling.

I got the honey glazed and the blueberry filled donuts.

L O V E!!!!

After breakfast, I checked out the Cheonggyecheon Stream which was just a building away from my hotel.

It was my first time to see it.

Next destination was Chungmuro Subway Station.

It is the "pet capital" of Seoul.  It was a big let down because most of the stores were closed already.

Then I saw the Namsam Tour bus station!


I ate Odeng, fish cake, while waiting for my ride in one of the street food stalls.

I just hopped on the bus going to N Seoul Tower.

It was just a 10 minute uphill bus ride from the bus station.

The buses and trains do not have air conditioning during fall so it was a bit warm.

At the bus drop off,

the view of the city could be seen from a nice vantage point.

To get to the N Seoul Tower from the bus drop off point, it was a grueling half  kilometer "hike" up!

I thought I was not going to make it, the road was really steep.  I wanted to give up.  I was only 10 steps away from the top.

But then I made it to my destination!

When I got to the top, I saw the N Seoul Tower.

And I was like....  ?????

Huh? This is it? So????

Good thing I met Fizzy! I could not remember what the breed was because it was foreign sounding but she was so adorable!

Cristina said I should check out the love locks.

More photo ops!

She also recommended the Udon Noodle soup.

What's with the big servings in Korea?!?!?!

I am not used to it.

Ice cream for dessert.

My first and only ice cream for this trip.

Autumn is not ice cream weather.

My friend asked me what was the temperature in the early afternoon.  I said it was just like walking in Powerplant Mall.  But then I am not the best person to ask if it is cold or not.  I told her I was not wearing a jacket.  There were a few Europeans who were in sleeveless and shorts but most of the Asians were bundled up in thick coats/jackets with scarves wrapped around their necks.

The trek downwards was so much easier than going up!

I rode the bus again and went down at Nandaemun Station.  I bought a small lightweight carry on bag in the market. It's like a small school bag.

From Nandaemun Market, I walked all the way to Myeongdong via the underground shopping arcade.  I went pasalubong shopping in Lotte supermarket.

What's in Myeongdong? Lots of street food and beauty stores.

And.... Big Guy's Lobster!

Another reason why I wanted to go back to Seoul is because I love their Lobster Roll.

My dessert was the egg bread, gyerang ppang, one of the famous street foods of Myeongdong.

Toy shopping for Snowball!

Walking back to the hotel, I passed by McDonalds and bought the Rich Chocolate Pie for my midnight snack.

It was OK.

A foggy early morning the next day.

Dunkin Donuts again!  Good thing The Seoul Finance Center building is just beside the hotel.

I got a few pieces of munchkins and a Twisted Corn donut.

I decided to go back to the Cheonggyecheon Stream at 11 am.

Even if it was sunny, the air was cool and crisp.

The sound coming from the stream was so soothing.

I walked and walked and walked and then I realized  I was almost near my destination for the day!

Bangsan Market.

I did not mean to walk all the way there but I did.

When I got to Bangsan Market I was looking for the baking and packaging supplies but all I could see were PVC and hardware stuff.

I had to ask several people where the baking and packaging materials were located.

TADA! I found it!

I bought a few things for PD.

Across Bangsan Market is Gwangjang Market.

Lots of food products.

Stone grinder for the mung bean head (yellow part of the togue)

Fried mung bean pancake.

Different kinds of Kimchi.

I tried the Hotteok, a Korean pancake.  Filled with bean paste, syrup and sesame seeds.

So many food stalls to choose from.  I sat on one of the benches to try the food people seemed to enjoy eating.

I ordered the Wanton Dumpling Soup.

It came with a side order of kimchi. I ate half a leaf.

The broth tasted OK.  Then when I put the dumpling on a small plate and cut it in half....

GASPS......... Tofu and spring onions!!!!

I thought it would be filled with pork and shrimps like the Chinese wanton dumpling!

I do NOT like tofu and I do NOT like spring onions.  Put them together in one dumpling... disaster!

A lot of people seemed like they loved what they were eating while I felt like crying. I could hardly swallow it but the lady who served the soup looked at me expectantly with a smile on her face and asked, "Good?"

I did not have the heart to deflate her spirit.  I ate 5 pieces out of 6.

After a sad and unsatisfying late lunch, I went down the stream again and walked towards Dongdaemun.

I really enjoyed walking along the Cheonggyecheom Stream.

It is almost 12 kilometers long with 20 bridges.  I covered 14 out of 20! Not bad!

Bridge number 14 is near Doota Mall in Dongdaemun.

It was very warm inside because the heater was on.  I had to go out of the building.

Shake Shack!!!!

I ordered a burger and strawberry milkshake.  I became a happy camper then.

Dining al fresco was better than eating inside the restaurant.

Because again, it was warm indoors.

Suddenly, I remembered I did not take my medications yet! I left them in the hotel room.  I was not planning on walking all day along the stream.  I could already feel a major headache, one of the signs of high blood sugar. Donuts and milkshake without meds?!?!  Tsk..tsk.. tsk...

Had to rush back to the hotel via the subway to take my medications.  I took a shower and rested for a bit.  Well... I tried to rest but ended up video calling with Pinky.

It was time to head to Myeongdong to have dinner!  I had Hotteok again, this time filled with honey, nuts and cinnamon.

Korean hotdog!

I went around to buy the pasalubong, mostly facial masks. I also looked for a bbq place.

I do not know the name of the restaurant.  I ordered the marinated pork ribs with lots of banchan.

Next destination was Lotte Mart in Seoul Station.

Sophie wanted Twizzlers.  Last time I was in Seoul, I was able to buy her different flavors but this time, I could not find it.  I was also looking for the seasoned rice "sprinkles" but again, I could not find it.

The subway late at night is not a pretty sight.  It was a little scary because there were several homeless people sleeping on the floor of the station, their meager belongings in suitcases beside them.  I just walked very fast so I could ride the train.

When I got back to the hotel, I packed my things because I was already going home the next day.

Fast forward to the next day, I was just planning to wear my nightgown with a jacket to do my donut run but changed what I was wearing at the last minute.

Cream Cheese pie for breakfast.

Donuts to take home to Manila. I also bought several donuts at Incheon Airport near the boarding gate.

The reason why I did not eat donuts is because I wanted to try the Swiss hot chocolate at Laderach.

And a tiny little piece of chocolate from Switzerland.

I also bought bread from Paris Baguette.

Good thing I bought a light blue colander.  I used it for the donuts and bread.

I checked out at noon and left my things with the concierge but not before changing into shorts and t-shirt. I know airports are notoriously warm in 4 season countries.

Hahahahaha I could say NAIA Terminal 3 is also at par with other airports in terms of the "heating" system.

The AC is undergoing rehabilitation so there are just giant fans and Iwata air cooler all over T3.

OK... back to my story....

Lots of office people were walking around so I just followed them.

I ended up eating sampyeopsal in one of the Korean BBQ restos.

Myeongdong Cathedral was on my list of places to see.  I looked for it the night before but I could not find it.  I have a hard time locating places at night but during the day I do not have a problem.

It is a Gothic looking church.

There is a small outdoor praying area and I was so touched when I saw 2 teen-aged boys praying reverently.

It was time to head back to the hotel.  I did not want to miss the bus going to Incheon Airport.

A lot of people were surprised that I was traveling by myself.  I love it when I am with my friends but I also love traveling solo!

It is one of the best experiences of my life.  It feels so liberating that you do not have to follow a tour schedule nor wake up early.  I can eat anywhere I want and do whatever I feel like doing.

There are a few downside, though.  I do not have enough pictures with me on it!  But then when I first started writing my blog, I rarely posted my photos.

Major downside is the portions in Seoul are really huge!  I wanted to try the Braised Beef Ribs in one of the restos but I could not eat it because the serving was good for 3-4 people!

Sometimes the BBQ restaurants have a minimum of 2 diners before they fire up the grill.

Would I travel solo again?!?! In a heart beat!  I did it several times before.  There's nothing to it.

Was I lonely? No.  Was I sad? No.  Did I lack someone to talk to? No.

Hahahaha I talk to myself all the time.  Why do you think I bring Sia with me whenever I travel?

I remember telling my friends while I was still in Seoul that I wanted to go back already!

Seoul is my new Boracay.

Seoul is my new happy place.


I could not wait to get home so I can give Snowball her pasalubongs!