Category Archives: Seoul

What we know now (about Korea) that we didn’t know then….

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So I have been making a little list in my head of things that we have noticed about Korea and decided I better document them before I forget!!!! We have really only been in Korea 3 days so I am sure we will learn WAY more in the coming months. 🙂

1. It doesn’t seem as if there is a certain side or direction we should walk on the sidewalk as there is in America. Example: When walking down the road/street/ etc we can’t decide if we should walk on the left or the right? People sorta just seem to go whichever way they please. I keep trying to figure it out, left or right?! Right or LEFT? Just when I think I have it down it seems to change.

2. Lots of signs in Seoul were in English. That doesn’t always mean that it makes sense! 

3.The subway system in Seoul is pretty extensive, but seriously…AWESOME.  You can take it anywhere/ everywhere in Seoul and it is super cheap. The stations are listed in Korean and English which was a huge help to us and when they approach your station it is said in Korean and then English. Oh, I can’t forget the cute little ice cream truck melody they play when the train approaches. It is different for each subway train as it approaches! Small map of the subway system…hard to see, but you get the picture.

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4. LESS is always best when it comes to luggage. Lighter luggage= lighter soul! Tom and I both can’t wait to get to our city and just RID off all these bags. Our plan is to take one backpack on the weekends when we travel.

5.Tom has to duck while showering. Again, he is a giant. The bathroom floor here is all tile…and for good reason. There is not a specific place for a shower “stall.” Just a shower head attached to the sink that mounts onto the wall and a small drain in the tile for the water to go. Tom says he will be able to pee, brush his teeth, shower, and shave all at once!! Haha and he is pretty much correct. I don’t mind it at all. We have learned you wear flip flops in the bathroom since it gets wet once you shower 🙂

6. We have noticed that the floors are all WARM when the heat is on!!! The heating system seems to be a bit different here where the pipes must be in the floor…either way it is completely awesome. Heated floors all around…all the time in the winter. 

7. Shoes off. No exceptions. We knew this one. BUT really. Shoes stay outside of the living area! Luckily we are both pretty used to this already. Shoes at the hostel: 

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8. Seems to be a lot less kiddos in public places then we see in America. This could be because we are out and about during the day a lot and kiddos are in school…but the ones we have seen usually only have 1 or 2 kids in the family. vs the 3 or 4 I feel like is common in the U.S

9. On our hike up the mountain the other day we noticed a lot of older Koreans  I am huffin and puffin and many old men strolled along as if it was nothing!!! THEN, we get half way up the mountain and there is NO LIE… a workout tent. Complete, with free weights and TONS of machines. What is this?!?! I can’t imagine working out and then hiking the other 1/2. The hike was enough for me!!!! 

10. Horns are used excessively. 

Spring is beautiful here! Next, post will be Amy’s town of Jangheung. I will try to do that in a couple of days as we will be out and about. We decided we must get back to Seoul at some point as yesterday was pretty much a travel day  5 hours to the south. Didn’t get a chance to explore more like we wanted to, but figure we have a while to do so 😉 013

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Mind. Body. Seoul.

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Tom and I are here! I have so much to say and so much happened in the last day that I wanted to do a post right away so that I don’t forget all that I want to write about. First off, we really love it. I asked Tom what he thinks on a scale of 1-10 (10 being best, 1 being worst) and he said “10!”  I want to break this up in 3 sections. I think it will be easier to read this way! If you don’t want to read all the details…just scroll down to the pictures!!! I wanted to write lots of detail though this time so I don’t forget anything 🙂

So yesterday afternoon, we arrived in the country we will live for the next year. We flew Asiana airlines and we loved the service. The stewardess’ were so kind and sweet. I slept off and on throughout the flight and was itching to get off by about hour 10. With 4 more hours to go I watched a couple of movies and drifted on and off to sleep. We made it to Incheon airport at 4pm Monday. Collected all 6 checked bags and headed to the airport train (in the basement of the airport) we knew this next part would be a challenge as we had SO much luggage and not so many hands!!! The train wasn’t busy at all so that was awesome. We took the train 7 stops to where our hostel would be!!! Took ourselves and our luggage a few blocks, got temporarily side tracked, and learned here how thoughtful Koreans are. Stopped two ladies who spoke no English (we had a map of where we needed to go) and then they split and asked around to others on the block where we needed to go and we had about 10 people total looking for our hostel.

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Our brains were pretty much mush at this point and I couldn’t tell what I wanted more…Sleep, eating, or showering. The kind ladies helped me carry my luggage to the door of the hostel where we were greeted by Simon. He helped us carry all 8 pieces of luggage up the stairs. It was about 7pm by the time we found the place and all I know is we had been traveling a long long time. We figured we should probably get some brain food so we headed onto the street for some eats. All I really remember from this is that we had some raw fish, water, and some spicy food. It was pretty much a blur at this point!!! Today we took off for some exploring around 8am and we just got back to our hostel, and it is 8pm. We felt great all day today, and at about 7pm the jet lag hit us again.

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So Tom is a giant here…and I feel like I fit in. We knew this, but today it became clear when Tom hit his head going down into the basement of our hostel and Simon giggled and said “Hobbit House!” I was laughing so hard. Tom also hit his knees sitting down at a table today for lunch. He has to watch his head often (as in at ALL times!!!) as the subway stations sometimes have low overhangs. I find it all pretty hilarious since he always made fun of me for being short! Today though, during our palace tour they said back in the 1500’s at the palace we visited the average height for a woman was 4 feet 8 inches. I was feelin pretty fancy at a whoppin 5’2. 😉 I will say though that there are some taller people and that women always seem taller since many are in seriously tall heels. I am not sure how they do it!!!!!!

Seoul-

Seoul is awesome. We both can’t get over how clean it is!!!! In all of our traveling books it says Seoul is super busy and populated…and while I am sure it is…it really doesn’t seem like it is. Tom says it is nothing like Taipei. I guess I sorta just had it in my head that Seoul would be jam packed with people (not being able to walk on the sidewalk) and massive sky high buildings/cement everywhere. That is totally not the case. There are TONS of cute little parks with lots of trees/ vegetation. It is so clean. There is so much shopping. And the shops are amazing. Like so organized, clean, and fancy. There is tons of coffee shops and little cafe type things. Today we visited Changdeokgung palace, walked around a LOT, and hiked Mt. Yongmun. We did want to visit the bigger national park Bukhansan, but I have a feeling that we will have to come back and spend more time here so we can hike more extensively!!!

Lots of Koreans stopped and asked if we needed help while we looked at maps today, and always struck up conversation with us…everyone is so very kind. I just can’t get over it. I feel like Seoul was the perfect place for us to begin this journey. I should also add it is very modern, and everyone is so well dressed. We didn’t get too many stares or awkward looks as I am sure in seoul they have seen many tourists before. We did get some cute kids shouting “hello!!!!” Made my day!! Also, made me so excited to teach.

We don’t know much korean really besides “hello” and “thank you” ,but we have done lots of pointing and smiling. Lunch was amazing today… may I add. There is just so many cute little places to eat. So much to take in. We are just in awe. I keep finding myself just smiling. It is completely and utterly food for my seoul! 😉 We have (tom has) tackled the extensive subway station pretty well. We have taken it all over today. Tomorrow, we are going to try to get to Gyeongbokgung palace in the morning, and then head to Amy’s place in Jangheung. We have to figure out how the buses work so we aren’t sure if we will have time to explore more yet. We will deff. have to get back here for a weekend as there is so much I want to see/do in this area.

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Headed to check out the  Gyeonbokgung palace (which we found out is CLOSED on tuesdays…boo!)

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Spring is HERE!! and we love these cherry blossoms.  Don’t let the sun fool you though. Tom told me today it would be 55 and sunny. AND it was sunny, but boy was it super windy…then rainy…then snowy while we were hiking. So that was awesome. haha. Tom had on a t-shirt and a long sleeve. I had on a button up shirt, sweater, and THANKFULLY packed a zip up. Everyone else had on jackets and scarves. I think we brought wisconsin weather with us…because it felt about 40 today.

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Just walkin around the first attempted palace visit.

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Just another random sign in English. Lots of English in and around the city. Not all of it makes sense… I was just excited because this is how I felt all day. ARE WE SERIOUSLY in KOREA!!??!?!?! Is this real? Because I am loving it.

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At the second palace Chang Deok Gung Palace. Just livin the dream.

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Before the hike. This is supposed to be a waterfall behind us… I think perhaps it is too early in the season? We aren’t sure!! haha but tom wanted this picture.

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view of seoul. Hard to see since it was so foggy/rainy/snowy.

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Exploring a residential street.

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tom getting coffee at this cute little shop.

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ahh. Food for the Seoul!!! 🙂