Originally published 18 February 2016.
For this weekend getaway, we decided to explore Seoul, South Korea. I’d never been, but Steve had been a few times several years ago when he worked for Motorola. He said he wants to go to all the places he’s already been without me so he can make new memories with me in all of those places. Awwwww! And we brought Mr. Peabody Pembroke came along for the ride, too!
We left last Thursday, and things went pretty well on the way over. Well, except that I somehow lost my newfound skill of sleeping on airplanes! But I got a lot of reading accomplished on the 14 hour flight to Narita Airport in Tokyo! From there, it was a short two hour flight to Incheon Airport in Seoul. Fortunately, we landed on time despite a very heavy fog. Unfortunately, something somewhere went horribly wrong after that… We ended up waiting in line at customs for an hour and a half and missed the last bus to our hotel! So we took a cab instead, which was more expensive, but not only was it faster than the bus, it was also our only option that time of night!
Thankfully, the woman at the front desk was incredibly kind and helpful. And she was shocked that it took us so long to get through customs! That’s how we knew something was unusual about that. Needless to say, we were pretty pooped by the time we got to the room and fell into bed!
We set an alarm for 7:00 so we wouldn’t sleep too late–no time for jet lag on a three-day trip! We were still pretty sleepy, but we powered through! After a trip to the hotel gym to reinvigorate ourselves, we raided the amazing breakfast buffet (any breakfast buffet that includes sushi is a breakfast buffet for me!), we decided to explore the Buddhist Temple across the street, which we had a great view of from the room!
It’s called the Bongeunsa Temple, and it’s a fully operating temple from the year 749! It’s so interesting to see something historic like that right in the middle of the skyscrapers and Starbuckses of the 21st century!
It was supposed to rain all day long, but it held off for the morning. We decided to take advantage of the cloudy (but not yet rainy!) weather and took a walk over to some burial mounds, which are like the Korean version of the Pyramids in Egypt. It’s an absolutely beautiful park in the middle of town, and if I’d planned it a little better, I would have brought some cold weather running clothes so I could have run there! The previous days’ rain had made the dirt trails rather squishy, but it was still nice to have such a peaceful place in the middle of the big city.
The mound in the back is the gravesite. There are statues and markers up there, but unfortunately no one can see them!
By the time we finished there, we decided we’d pushed our luck with the weather far enough. To the COEX! I have no idea what that stands for, but that’s the nickname for the area where we were staying. There’s a huge underground mall next to our hotel, but after about half an hour of walking around under there with no windows, we decided above ground was better for us and our jet lag! The rain was holding off nicely still, so we got a little lost outside and tried to find a few more sites to see. Did you know Seoul is a HUGE city? I was shocked at how far apart all the sites were!
We eventually found ourselves getting much-needed caffeinated beverages and a snack at one of the many Starbuckses in the area. It was delightful! Maybe it was the overcast skies, maybe it was the jet lag, maybe it was forcing ourselves to wake up at 7:00; whatever it was, we enjoyed sitting for a spell!
Around 4:00, we were ready for an early dinner. Can you guess what I wanted? Sushi! And Steve was kind enough to oblige. Our only mistake? Going to sleep at 6:00pm!
Check back tomorrow for our Valentine’s Day excursions!
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