Namdaemun Market, Olympic Park, Lotte World Tower, Gangnam

Day number 6 in South Korea is over and it resulted in over 19 000 steps and many memories to bring back. First we walked to Namdaemun Market, one metro station away from Myeongdong, then we met up with Felix and took a quick walk in the Olympic Park, then to Lotte World Mall where the 5th tallest skyskraper in the world is located: Lotte World Tower. And we then ended with dinner in Gangnam.

Namdaemun Market

Namdaemun Market is a several blocks big market with everything from food (except we couldn’t find where the main place for street food would be), to cutlery, and clothes. I bought a new belt and two pair of earrings. There was a whole block with indoor jewelery vendors, aisle after aisle with people sitting and making beautiful jewelery. It was called Daedo Jewelery. I love simplistic accessories and they had plenty and it was hard to not throw all my money at the vendors. But two pair of earrings for 10 000 won together was okay, they even matched, but from two different sellers!

Before our next stop we walked to one of the old gates to the city that was nearby, Sungnyemun Gate. Just an ancient piece of architecture in the middle of all the stress and life that Seoul offers 24/7. Like the palace we saw the other day, this looked brand new. They must have a crazy budget for maintaining teir cultural sites. The Koreans seem to be a very cultural people, so I am not surprised.

I just read that the gate was destroyed by a fire in 2008 and was reconstructed for five years. That’s the downside of all their palaces and architecture being made solely from wood. It was originally built in the 14th century and was one of three gates leading into the city. Today it is Number 1 National Treasure of Korea. Pretty cool! Of course, here comes the 360 pic of it where the contrast are clearly visible.

Olympic Park

In 1988, the summer Olympics were held in Seoul. Long before my time, but as a fairly sports interested person, I knew that it had been here sometime at least. After the visit with work in Lillehammer, Norway in September, this is now the 2nd Olympic place I visit this year. Winter Olympics was held in Lillehammer in 1992. It was a beautiful park!


Do you see the huge and disgusting spider?

Lotte World Tower

The tallest skyskraper today is Burj Khalifa (where I went in 2016, and it was so cool!), but after that one, not many people are aware of which skyskrapers follow. At least I didn’t. The fifth tallest is apparently located here in Seoul. And it is not N Seoul Tower that is definitely the more famous one, but Lotte World Tower. Owned of course by the mega multinational conglomerate. The tower is 555m, has 123 floors, and was opened just a year and a half ago in April 2017. On floor 118, there were glass floors. Scary stuff! Mom and I watched  the sun set into a mountain hidden behind a smog cloud. What’s so sad about this is that it is mainly not smog from the South Koreans, but clouds coming in from China. Depressing. This week has been really bad. Worse than usual. Bad timing I guess. But the visibility was better today than any other day so I am not too upset, even if it would have been nice to see the sun set behind an actual mountain instead of in a cloud. We did actually see N Seoul Tower in the distance. That’s some kilometers at least (like 11 – shit, this city is big!).


Down there in the beginning of the park, you can see the Peace Gate when entering the Olympic Park. That gate was huge!
Traffic in Seoul is insane.

The Lotte World Mall was mostly underground and was huge. We didn’t walk in it for too long, shopping didn’t lure us today. We took a look around outside and here you can see how tall the tower is from the ground.

Gangnam

Last stop of the day was Gangnam. It was very spread out and Felix looked around for a while before finding a restaurant which was closed the last time he was there but it was said to have amazing Jjimdakk. It is chicken, dumplings, fish cakes and glass noddles among other things in a soy sauce. It was really good! We shared one big three-persons-plate, because here dining is a social activity. It was spicy, even though we took the non-spicy version. But it was manageable and really good!

Naminara Republic of Korea, Petite France, Meerkat Friends

Today was a fun day, 16 000 steps, not too much. We did two things, or three really: Petite France and Nami Island and then ended the day with Meerkat Friends, an animal café in Hongdae.

Petite France

This was part of the tour we got from Klook, to visit the small village that was supposed to look like France. It was cute, but I have been to both Paris and Marseille in France and almost 2 hours of walking around there was a bit too much. Usually the stops at tours are too short, but not this one. Here is a picture of what it looked like in 360. What is funny about this place is that, almost nothing was actually French, lots of German old ceramics, paintings from Italian painters and so on. But I guess that doesn’t really matter for the Asian tourists coming there who never went to Europe.


I miss exercising, so this was at least a small effort today.

In Petite France, there were Swedish stamps.

Nami Island / Namiseom / Naminara Republic of Korea

The main stop for this tour was Nami Island, which is also its own country since 2006: Naminara Republic of Korea. It has its own passport and even currency and government. It is a small half-moon-shaped island, only 5km in circumference. Really pretty place and Winter Sonata, a K-drama has been filmed there. It was pretty, but most of the leaves had fallen off the trees compared to in Seoul. This was an island located in the city of Chuncheon, about 1.5h from Seoul.

There was a main boulevard with restaurants, the famous Metasequoia Lane and other cute stuff. Many snowmen which I think are from the TV series? We had lunch, I tried tteokbokki carbonara. Really delicious. Tteokbokki is stir-fried rice cakes.

We were there for about 3 hours. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Here is a 360 picture as well.


This is the place where the first kiss between two people on the show Winter Sonata took place.

There weren’t many red trees, but the few ones were glowing and lighting the dull surroundings up.

A pine tree that turn yellow.

Snowman-shaped tteokbokki of course.


I decided to try to be half-asian at least. No posing here!
This is the most bizarre statue I have ever seen.
And of course, the other tit is on her back, feeding the other kid, haha.
The famous Metasequoia lane.
These colors!!
Haha, why bother removing the selfie stick when taking a call.

A setting sun over Seoul was amazing on the way back when we were stuck in rush hours trafic.

We got back to Dongdaemun after 5pm and decided to quickly check out the Dongdaemun Design Plaza for a bit before heading to Hongdae and the special café. It was such a cool place! Here is a 360 picture of it, or at least the bottom of it.


There was a LED rose garden there. Really pretty.

We then took the metro to Hongdae where we went to Meerkat Friends café. It was a cafe with meerkats and other animals such as racoon, cats, wallaby, foxes. It was the cutest place and the animals were so nice and friendly. We even got to feed them all. It was a nice place and it honestly felt like the animals had a good time there with big windows, so much air, and it was kept very clean. Six of the meerkats fell asleep in my lap, the racoon wanted to escape and begged for food. The foxes were so adorable and one of the wallabies had a baby in its pouch. We were there for a long time and got unreasonably many pictures, but due to space limitations, I can’t upload them now, sorry. I will as soon as I possibly can though!

UPDATE 2018-11-10: I didn’t want to wait, but decided to upgrade my blog. I have now 6GB, that should at least be enough for this trip! Here comes the pictures from Meerkat Friends.


They were digging everywhere to try and find food. My hair was completely ruined after those 10 minutes in that Meerkat pen.
When they calmed down and realized I didn’t have any food, they climbed up in my lap one after one and fell asleep. Eventually I had 6 of them sleeping there! So adorable!


Baby meerkat playpen!
One of the babies had a cast!
This was one was not allowed to be touched because she has a baby in her pocket!
Feeding and kissing foxes.
So beautiful creatures!
The most beautiful cat ever. I’m glad my cats can’t read this.

New profile pic everywhere perhaps?

 

Yongsan electronics market, COEX mall

Rain, rain, rain and even more rain. Proably not as much as it can get during monsoon season in July and August, but it was constant throughout the day and got way worse by the time we were on our way back to the hotel.


So we planned today’s activities accordingly and ended up doing some shopping.
First we went to Yongsan electronics market. Along the whole street was small shops and at the end was a mall, ET Land, where they had most things to do with electronics. We didn’t buy anything, didn’t really have any plans for it anyway, but when we saw the prices, we definitely didn’t want to buy anything. 956 000 for a Samsung Galaxy S9! Haha, the prices here are ridiculous. It equals around 7 700 SEK, and if you buy it in Sweden right now, it is 7 000. Not worth buying electronics in South Korea. 

We then ventured outside of the Metro comfort bubble and took a bus. Sure, to a Metro station, but still. We went down to Gangnam and Starfield Coex mall. Indoor and with plenty of stores. Not too many familiar but I still managed to walk out of there with goods worth of 190 000. I’ve been looking at a Patagonia down jacket, but it is 2 900 SEK. Probably worth it, but still a lot of money. I found a very nice down jacket at Uniqlo for around 1 400. Half the price and I got to try it on in a store before buying it. This is it. I also got a pair of really warm gloves with touch, perfect for the upcoming winter back home. In the shopping mall was also the most incredible library! Unfortunately, all the books were in Korean. For some reason, I can’t upload my 360 picture of it on Google Maps, so here is a link to Facebook for now.

For lunch we went to the food court and I had bulgogi bibimbap. Never tried before, but so good! We had a break later in the day at Starbucks and moved around activities for the last days here in South Korea and then went to the Aquarium. Kinda childish, and very expensive, but I love sealife so it was worth it.

Vatican City

Last night we had a little bit of a freakout, we hadn’t booked any tours before coming here, so we looked into it last night. Our plan was to go to the Vatican today, Colosseum on Friday, and Pompeii on either Saturday or Sunday. We have one of those three things figured out. We booked a tour to both Vatican City and Colosseum, but today we found out the Colosseum tour was already full so we had to book it for another day. I think we knew that it would be full-booked, but we still didn’t book anything in advance. So I encourage you all planning to go to Rome, book everything in advance, at least Colosseum! We have rebooked the Colosseum tour for Saturday morning, I just hope that one is not full as well. Otherwise the only option I know of is early on Tuesday morning, on the day we are leaving. Let’s cross our fingers for Saturday!

Anyway, we booked through the official website of the Vatican Museums and picked a tour of the museums, the Sistine Chapel, and the St. Peter’s Basilica. It was interesting, the tour guide had been in the Vatican for 50 years or something, as a guard and something else. Pretty cool. He knew a lot. What was not so fun about it was that we were not alone. There were approximately 1,340,292 other people there. It was hard to see anything, you could hardly see the floor you were walking on! Too many people. I also wish we could have stayed a little bit longer in the Sistine Chapel to watch the paintings a little bit longer. So many details everywhere! St. Peter’s Basilica was really cool! Church architecture is, but I am kinda bummed that I don’t remember too much from the World Architecture class I took at Cal Poly 2.5 years ago. Probably a third of that course was about ancient Rome. I feel kinda lost here in general and don’t know much about the pretty old buildings I take lots of pictures on. And honestly, I am too tired to try and do any research on it now afterwards. It is still pretty, and as a fan of architecture, I really enjoy this city.

After the Vatican we were already tired (it was around 12:30pm). We found a cute restaurant called Polese and had pizza there. I had a proscuitto pizza and it was incredible! The crust was the thinnest I have ever seen!

We then walked along to Pantheon which was incredible. I remember the professor talking a lot about it and it felt really cool to be there and see it with my own eyes. But like I said before, I don’t really remember exactly what it was. I think something about it withstanding WWII, but still being damaged from it?

Our next stop was Fontana di Trevi. We found the people before the fountain. Crazy many people there! But the fountain was so pretty! If there weren’t that many people there, I would have loved to sit there with a gelato in the sun, just watching the water.

We walked 19,000 steps today (accumulating to 39,000 in two days) so we took many breaks, right after the fountain we sat down for a Swedish fika with ice cream, coffee, and something sweet.

The last thing we did for the day was trying to find the GAP store so I could buy a new pair of favorite jeans. I bought a pair of True Skinny jeans in San Francisco some years ago but they have been worn so much that I feel that it is time to get a new pair. 600 SEK for a pair of awesome jeans was so cheap! I also bought a pair of more fancy pants for 300 for future situations when my normal style of clothes does not fit the occasion. I wish we had GAP in Sweden.

Then we just walked around, found a square (Piazza del Popolo), saw a staircase up to a house where it looked like a great view (Piazza Napoleone I). We will go back there tomorrow when it is dark to get some real nice photographs. My soles didn’t hurt today, but my calves when we got back, and the top of my feet has been hurting since this afternoon. So much walking! We have decided to take it a bit slow tomorrow, sleep until 10am, plan our day with museums and such, Hard Rock Café in the evening and some photographing in the evening.

Here, enjoy a bunch of pictures from today (only mine, not Jesper’s, I might post some of them when we get back home).

One day in Denmark

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my travels. This full post can be found here.

Today, Jesper and I did the most spontaneous trip abroad ever. We went to Denmark today and we decided it late last night. We have decided to do more stuff together this year and it has started well so far. Yesterday, even though Jesper was hungover like an egg, we went out for dinner last night and then went Pokemon hunting after spending the day on the couch watching Storks and Secret Life of Pets. It was a good day.

Also, New Years Eve was fun. We had some people over for dinner and games. And for the first time since my 24th birthday I actually had a little to drink. And I didn’t feel sick, so three 4% ciders works. Good to know. It got late, but it was a really fun evening.

So, back to today. We took the ferry at 8 am over to Fredrikshamn in northern Denmark. Three hours on a ferry actually made me a bit seasick. It was a relief to get out on the ground where we did a little bit of shopping. They had some fun home decoration shops. We drink a lot of tea, so we bought some tea, and a cute teabag plate. We also got an ice cream scoop, some small glass bottles for sand from future beaches. We then had a fika at a café which was also close to a Pokéstop and from those 40 minutes we learned that Fredrikshamn is full of electric Pokémons, weird I have to say.

We actually only stayed in Denmark for two hours, but now we get to scrape another country on our scratch map. Stena Line is by the way very cheap right now, so we barely paid anything for our tickets. What cost a little bit was the buffet on the ferry back. We had the best seats with an ocean view and it was a nice dinner.

Now we are both very tired, it has been two eventful days in this new year so far.

img_20170102_114909 img_20170102_115351 screenshot_20170102-125053 img_20170102_122331 img_20170102_133222 img_20170102_154041 img_20161230_235433 And here is a picture of my two cats doing this exact thing again. Ramses opens the book shelf, jumps in and Cleo is outside and very jealous.

Weekend

This weekend of mine was over so quickly.  But I feel rested and did a lot of fun things.

On Sunday I had my last day of work, only 6 hours and the day was over so fast.

Yesterday I finished my room, took all the boxes to the basement and now my room is done. It feels great. I still have tons of stuff I want to do, like go through all my clothes and give away stuff I don’t use anymore. I also want to order canvases with pictures from the Caribbean trip. And more smaller things.  At 5pm I went downtown to meet up with Jesper after he got off work. He is a guy I’ve kinda been seeing since I came home. I know it’s early to mention him here, but it feels right with him and I haven’t had this feeling in a very long time. I know he feels the same, so we will see where this goes. Anyway, we went to his place where we cooked dinner together, feta/bellpepper filled minute steak (is that what it’s called? A very thin beef) with potato wedges and rosépepper sauce. It was delicious.

Today was a fun day as well. I left bed at 12:30, went to 4-Gott to buy a bag of candy (it is my weekend, and I needed to refill my energy before 6 days of work which is ahead of me). Then I played some The Sims 4. Didn’t have time to do more than just one family.

At 5:30pm I went downtown to go to the movies with Axel, we saw Minions in 3D. Super fun movie! Grabbed a beer before the movie too. He came with me to my place after where we looked into where we should go in August. We had talked about going to Florence, Italy, but it was kinda expensive. So we found flight tickets for half that price with RyanAir to Marseille so we took that instead. Then we booked an apartment right next to the ocean with Airbnb and it all ended at 3,200 SEK per person in total for four days. Not bad at all! Yesterday I also booked my flight to Paris in September with mom. I am going to France twice in just a month, that will be fun!

Now that that is all booked and done I think I should probably go to bed. It will be nice with a long night of sleep before this new week at work. I hope my body and especially feet and legs are used to this hard work now.

Tourist in San Francisco

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Two days are over in San Francisco and I am so tired from all the walking. But we have seen a lot. Yesterday Patrick and I met up with Helena, Nicki and our host Jacob for brunch at a place close to his place on Chestnut Street. Then we all took a walk down to the water, looked at the Golden Gate Bridge (it was not foggy so I could actually see it this time), then went to Palace of Fine Arts and back to his place. So we are couchsurfing now, if I never said that before. My first time doing it and it is nice that we are two girls (three until tonight). It is free and we literally sleeps on a guy’s couch. It’s a new experience.

After that Patrick had to leave and the rest of us hang in the apartment for an hour or so before we decided to explore the city some more. We took an uber to Haight-Ashbury Street. This is where hippies used to live, but then got replaces with vintage boutiques, cafés and restaurants. Still a lot of “hippies” though, lots of weed and smoke stores. We kept on walking from there to The Golden Gate Park. We just walked in a little part of it and then walked all the way to the Painted Ladies six houses painted in different colors. It was not as grandeur as it looks on pictures (that does not happen often, now does it?). We were so exhausted all of us, so we sat down on the grass for a while, watching all the funny tourists taking weird photos in front of the houses.

We then took an uber back to the apartment and got ready to go out to dinner. All of us went to Cheesecake Factory at Union Square for dinner. They were out of my favorite Farfalle with chicken and roasted garlic, so I took my second favorite, the Roasted pear and bleu cheese flatbread. We all shared a Red Velvet Cheesecake afterward. So delicious. Our last stop for the day was a bar called Bacchus Kirk. I played pool against Jacob, won surprisingly! Had a drink, petted the dogs in the bar (SF is a dog city so dogs are everywhere here and apparently allowed in some bars).

 

Today was all about the piers and wharfs and Alcatraz. Pier 39 was fun as usual, watched the sea lions. Then we walked to Pier 33 and picked up our tickets for Alcatraz later in the afternoon and then walked all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. It was not that far, but many small trips make a long distance. We walked around, went to Ghiradelli Square. It would have been so cool to sit down in the Ghiradelli “restaurant”, but we just walked through. That chocolate is really good.

On our way back to Pier 33 we stopped at Ben & Jerry’s for milkshakes. Yummy!

We were the first to board the boat out to the island and it only took us 12 minutes. We pretty much just did an audio tour, walked around to watch the SF skyline and then back. We then met up with Jacob at Union Square for dinner at Burger Bar. I made my own burger with avocado, bacon, caramelized onions and cranberry sauce. Very good.

Straight back to the apartment and now I am so ready for bed!

PANO_20150321_124109 Golden Gate Bridge.PANO_20150321_125729 Palace of Fine Arts.IMG_20150321_131006 Turtles at PoFA.IMG_20150321_151219 Haight/Ashbury Street.IMG_20150321_160845 Golden Gate Park.IMG_20150321_164032 IMG_20150321_163603 PANO_20150321_165923 Painted Ladies.PANO_20150321_234203 Union Square.IMG_20150321_234740Hearts all over SF (no idea why).IMG_20150322_003236Bacchus Kirk bar.

Snapchat--4904785948224871176The super cute and fluffy dog in the bar. IMG_20150322_014626Palace of Fine Arts at night. IMG_20150322_132514 Pier 39.IMG_20150322_131655 Packed sealions at Pier 39.IMG_20150322_140328 Alcatraz in the arch where they loaded the prisoners.IMG_20150322_140801 Fisherman’s Wharf.IMG_20150322_142137 Ghiradelli Square.IMG_20150322_152917 Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island.IMG_20150322_153038 Alcatraz.IMG_20150322_165001 Hospital inside Alcatraz.IMG_20150322_155447 Showers inside Alcatraz.IMG_20150322_160302 “Broadway”. So many cells!! There were four aisles (only two with cells on both sides).IMG_20150322_161027 6 confinement cells.IMG_20150322_161231 The library.IMG_20150322_161953 A normal and “decorated” cell.IMG_20150322_163225 There was an escape in March 1963, three inmates dug themselves out with spoons and climbed up a shaft behind this wall up to the roof and supposedly swam somewhere. No bodies where ever found so no one knows if they survived the very treacherous one mile long swim to the main land.PANO_20150322_165947Bay Bridge, San Francisco skyline, and Golden Gate Bridge seen from Alcatraz.