Seoul

From Seoul

안녕하세요

We landed in Korea three days ago and have been on an absolute whirlwind tour ever since.

This post is coming to you straight from the Koreana Hotel in downtown Seoul. And as the sun begins to rise between the skyscrapers, I am looking out to Namsan Tower, trying to make sense of the awesome adventure the fellow blogger and I have been on so far. We’ve been pedal to the metal the last few days, and there is so much to share.

So let’s do this!

A three week trip to Korea and Thailand requires some serious packing organization.

From Seoul

Ready to go!

From Seoul

We departed from our beloved Oakland and said goodbye to home.

From Seoul

Landing in our second home, LA.

One night at Joffite’s to get the vacay started off proper.

From Seoul

LAX International Terminal before our flight across the Pacific.

Got bumped up to the VIP Lounge.

A good omen for the start of the trip.

From Seoul

In 33 years of traveling, I have never flown anything other than economy. And I have no problemo with this. As long as you make it to your destination safely, it’s all good to me.

But, the economy-only streak finally broke, and I got to fly business class.

Holy Shit. This is ridiculously cool.

From Seoul

Needless to say, the culinary experience on our flight was glorious.

Both lunch and dinner were like 4 courses, with a nice selection of wine and champagne and pretty much anything you wanted.

From Seoul

To top it all off, there was a friggin lounge on the plane.

What!? Are you kidding me!?

짱이다

From Seoul

After a 13 hour flight where I got pretty much zero sleep (on account of stoking on all the amenities I was enjoying on the flight) we landed at Seoul Incheon and we (naturally) went straight to Korean Barbeque.

From Seoul

My first meal in Korea with Di’s extended family was surreal. I was legit delirious from being awake 24+ hours, and downing shots of soju with her cousins, but having an absolute blast! So much fun!

It reminded me of the early days in the Peace Corps. Totally out of it in terms of conversation, but so warmly welcomed nevertheless. A truly wonderful start to our adventure here.

From Seoul

“Hey, it’s me JET LAG, and I am gonna get you up at 4:45 AM even though you’d pay millions for a full night of sleep.” Uhhh, thanks jet lag, appreciate it.

Di and I made the best of it and went for an early morning jog in the autumn air of Incheon. Seeing the sun begin to rise made the early wake up totally worth it.

From Seoul

Our first destination was Diana’s grandmother’s grave.

We drove out for a couple hours to the idyllic country town.

From Seoul

And Di and I paid our respects to her 할머니.

We offered food and booze and bowed 2 and a half times.

From Seoul

And I got to pour a shot of soju out for her.

Respect.

From Seoul

Back in the car, into Seoul.

We had some time before lunch, so we hit up the Samsung Leeum Museum of modern art.

Very stylish spot.

From Seoul

A great way to start off our adventure of Seoul.

From Seoul

Okay … On to lunch.

We met up with a family friend at his private club for a true culinary experience.

A very traditional affair.

From Seoul

That flower was no joke delicious.

From Seoul

It was quite an experience.

Indeed!

From Seoul

From Lunch we went on a hike up to Namsan Tower.

Fall colors were out in full effect, and our trek up the hill was glorious.

From Seoul

Such a lovely park right in the middle of the city.

From Seoul

As we summited the hill, these epic views of Seoul came into view.

Stoking.

From Seoul

And at the top of the hill, we ascended this tower for some seriously rad views of the city.

Holy crap – Seoul is huge. It is no doubt the biggest city I have ever seen.

There were crazy amounts of skyscrapers in every single direction!

From Seoul

Tucked between these sprawling mountain ranges, the city was awesomely picturesque.

Even though there were literally hundreds of towers, the city still managed to blend in with the mountains.

From Seoul

Straight up.

This city is huge.

From Seoul

We hiked down into the city.

Enjoying a lovely Fall afternoon with Di’s parents.

From Seoul

Our first night in Seoul.

Walking around was surreal. On one hand so familiar, this place was like any huge city I’ve been to. But then on the other hand, totally new, my first visit to Asia, soaking in such an amazing new experience.

From Seoul

Keeping the culinary party going – we grubbed super well that night.

This was off the charts tasty.

From Seoul

We also saw Richard when he got off work.

From Seoul

After dinner we cruised through this really cool series of alleys.

Dotted with all these restaurants and little stores, the vibrance of the city at night was out in full force.

From Seoul

The next morning, we got up and started a massive ten mile walking excursion around Seoul.

King Sejong. Dude invented an alphabet.

Props.

From Seoul

Meandering through the city, I was stoking.

What a wonderful place.

From Seoul

We hit up Changdeokgung Palace, a Unesco heritage site that was a lifetime experience for me.

The massive grandeur of the buildings, coupled with the intense detail of the facades, truly was amazing.

From Seoul

I tried really hard to photograph this spot.

It was just so hard to capture how tremendous it is.

From Seoul

Dude.

Stoked.

From Seoul

Added to the awesomeness of the park was the fall foliage out in full effect.

From Seoul

The place was huuuuge.

There were so many cool little nooks and crannies we could explore.

From Seoul

Just so cool.

From Seoul

Indeed, a lifetime kind of event.

From Seoul

From the palace, we hiked through Bukchon village.

Kind of like the Nob Hill (on steroids) of Seoul, the neighborhood was very hilly, and very pleasant.

From Seoul

Small alleys and traditional style houses dotted our trek.

From Seoul

We got some great views as well.

From Seoul

On the other side of the village we hit up Gyeongbokgung Palace.

Another massively impressive structure.

From Seoul

The feeling of being really, really small strikes you so distinctly when standing in these palaces.

These huuuuge courtyards with towering structures filling up the center were just so amazing.

From Seoul

And the interiors were phenomenal.

From Seoul

Blending in harmoniously with the natural beauty around it, the palace was just such a tremendous experience.

In awe.

From Seoul

Seriously!

This was off the charts cool.

From Seoul

We walked to Insadong later that afternoon.

From Seoul

So … This brings us to now.

The sun has almost fully risen over the tower next to us, and another day of adventure awaits. Needless to say, your blogger is having the time of his life exploring this country. And to see the mother land of my true Love … So incredibly stoked.

From Seoul