By the time my family arrived in Seoul, I was almost tired of the city. I felt guilty for not loving it, especially since it’s my home country. But truth and honesty should always go hand in hand with travel talk, so here I am. Seoul is the most crowded city I have visited, and I didn’t particularly enjoy the mobs of people in the subway which was my daily means of transportation. Also, one can only take SO much of shopping. There were vendors at every square inch of the city along with street food vendors as well as numerous restaurants. The route to the subway even had a way you can take the underground sidewalk where there were shops after shops along the way. Add the frenzy of buying the subway pass which timed out if you were too slow, confusing routes, reading the map which had too many colors that were too close (light green, medium green, orange, red, etc, that were right next to each other!), and the general stress of overcrowding. Believe me, it was easy to get tired of this scene. But the good thing about having family there was that I would no longer be in charge. Things got easier from that point on.
One of my favorite days was going to N Seoul Tower. The all glass cable car ride up was a joy as well as the walk on the grounds. The wooden staircase leading up to the tower was scenic, and there were no vendors and no shopping along the way…only nature and the spectacular scenery. After taking pictures by the love lock bridge overlooking the whole city of Seoul, I went to the very top of the tower by myself as everyone else was too tired. The 360 degree all glass window view reminded me of Chicago’s Willis Tower, and the sun was just setting and the views were simply gorgeous. The tower’s shadow could be seen along the trees below, and luckily, this was one of the nicest days in Seoul. There was even a post office where you could mail postcards but I didn’t take the time. The cable car back down was just as nice as the first time around with more picture taking opportunities.
On another day we went to the area where my brother and I were born. I was actually sad because the area wasn’t as developed as the other areas we visited, and I had thoughts that we must have been poor. However, my memory of Seoul as a child was in opposition to this. We always had a live-in maid and my mom had a thriving business from what I recall as a child. Although my brother had a few memories about the area I didn’t have any at all. Everything was foreign to me…
When we visited my sister-in-law’s childhood home, it was obvious that her family was far better off than my brother’s and mine. The area was called Myeongdong and it was contemporary and full of nice shops. It kind of reminded me of Insadong, my favorite shopping area.
I took my family to Gangnam since I didn’t really have time when I visited on my own the first time. I wanted to buy something from there so I ended up buying two shirts from a boutique which only sold local designers. I also took them to Insadong to take an opportunity to visit the tea shop again as well as the Jogyesa Temple. In between these days we ate A LOT. As there were many shops, there were as many restaurants. I would never complain about too many restaurants, though.
My last day in Seoul was spent trying to get to the Bongeunsa Buddhist Temple near Gangnam. I was moved to visit this place as saw a picture in one of the magazines where there was a huge statue of a Buddha with the modern city skyline of Seoul that looked really cool to me. However, when I got there at 2:30 pm they were closed and they would reopen at 4 pm. To pass the time in between I ended up visiting the COEX Aquarium across the street which was the absolute worst aquarium that I have ever been to. I even took the time to write the negative reviews on TripAdvisor. It’s a bad feeling to spend money and have a terrible time when visiting a foreign country because time is so very limited. I hope this helps some of you if you consider visiting Seoul one day.
Now that I’m back home writing this, of course, I miss Seoul. Aren’t memories wonderful? There is absolutely nothing that I would rather do than travel. The other day a man told me that my wanderlust would fade over time, and the thought of this made me sad. How dare he? I can’t imagine the day when my love for travel will fade as true love never fades! I am planning my next travel…
Enjoying the view at the Love Lock bridge
at N Seoul Tower