A weekend in Seoul was not necessarily at the top of my list, considering the rumblings coming from North Korea, but Neil went there for work last week, so I decided to brave it and meet him there for the weekend. We ended up having a fab time, soaking up the sights, enjoying the sunny days and eating good food.
I arrived on thursday evening and while Neil was at work on friday, I headed to the National Art Gallery which is housed in a beautiful light and airy modern building.
There was a beautiful selection of Korean pottery which gave me a lot of inspiration. I loved its simplicity.
The fabric hoarder in me then decided to head to Dongdaemun, the wholesale fabric district where there was a mind blowing selection of fabrics in every form possible, spread out over several warhouse-like buildings, each on five floors!
I was totally frazzled by the end of it!
Zaha Hadid designed the new Design Park and Plaza that is in the process of being built in the Dongdaemun area. I loved the way that its space-age shape loomed over the surrounding area. It's a shame it wasn't finished though, I would have loved to have seen inside.
On friday evening we went out in Gangnam (where our hotel was) to find some 'Gangnam Style'. The area is very lively with a main road leading through it and big shops on either side. But if you head down the backstreets, there are endless eateries and drinking spots to choose from.
We ended up at a place that served piping hot pork soup with an array of interesting side dishes, including the hot and spicy kimchi (cabbage marintaed in chilli) which I love.
Saturday morning was spent renting bikes from the park and heading along the river which has designated cycle paths. The weather was beautiful and lots of people were out enjoying it. There were lots of food vendors selling their wares.
I loved the way these foot-long sausages were kept warm.
On saturday afternoon, we got the cable car up to Namsan peak to see the view.
It was very crowded at the top, where people were enjoying the view and the selection of tasty food on offer.
We then headed back down for a wander round Namdaemun market where there were all sorts of items to buy and food to sample.
This was some sort of fishy paste that was getting rolled up and put into sticks by one person, and then being fried up by another.
Saturday evening was spent at an Indian restaurant with Neil's work colleague and some of his friends. It was a really fun night and we ended up at a fab little speakeasy where we had to knock on the door and wait to be let in. The cocktails were very good!
Slightly sore heads on sunday morning, meant a slow start to the day.
We had a late breakfast at the hotel and then headed out to Bukchon Hanok village, a lovely chilled out area full of traditional Korean houses.
It was the perfect thing to do on a sunny sunday, and there were lots of coffee shops and ateliers to dip into when we felt like it.
Traditional woven slippers worn in the house.
This is a typical traditional courtyard. Each house is beautifully structured from wood and no nails are used in the construction. This allows for the expansion and contraction of the wood in hot and cold weather.
The blumpers sampling life in a Korean home....