I have no idea why time is flying by too fast. I can’t believe it’s Monday again, and what I honestly find more unbelievable is that I actually got to carve out a time to write this. I’ve been making a conscious effort in writing bits and pieces of random things (mostly blog posts), in order to make sure that I don’t fall into a rut with work. It’s my own version of self-care by ensuring that I fall asleep reliving good travel memories, and, not let work bleed into my dreams and make me restless the entire night. So far, it’s been working out and I’m hoping that I eventually become faster and more imaginative with my writing. Fingers crossed!
On our third day in Seoul, we woke up to -13 degrees. I had booked a 10 AM high-speed train to Gapyeong, so C and I had a little bit of leeway and not have to rush getting out under the heated blanket. We both got our thicker coats out because we knew it would be colder in Nami Island since it was surrounded by water. I am not gonna lie when I say I bought those sticky heat pads that people usually stick to their feet (for their shoes), and stuck them to my thermal layer underneath my thermal sweater because there were a couple of times I wondered whether I was dying from the cold. It was also too cold, that by this day I had stopped wearing blush as I already look flushed from the wind (and more so with a layer of blush on). Even C who is a fan of cold weather got the chills when we got out of the apartment that morning.
When heading to Gapyeong, I would highly recommend booking a ticket online so you get to avail of their reserved seating. You can purchase your tickets from the KORAIL website one month in advance (at maximum). On a previous trip to Seoul, we had to scramble for seats since we didn’t buy in advance, and there were tons of people heading to Nami Island for the autumn foliage. The number of people wasn’t as many when we went, but it’s better to have reserved seats, right? You can also book seats on tours on sites like TRAZY for a more hassle-free experience. 🙂
It was a bit hard to capture snow falling with my camera but if you notice the white thing near the trees in the photos below, that’s actually snow falling. The moment wherein we were walking along the path with the snow falling from above was purely magical. I’ve never been a huge nature person, but I couldn’t get enough of Nami Island. Even if the temperature dropped to -16 and my toes have started to hurt.
There were a couple of restaurants in Nami that served different kinds of Korean cuisine. We ended up in one that serves all kinds of Asian cuisine, but I stuck it out with some spicy squid and it helped me finally feel my face once again.
When I bought my camera last year, C went and bought me a flexible tripod (not a Gorillapod though) that I was hesitant to buy because it was a bit expensive and I wasn’t sure whether I needed it or not. It turned out to be a great purchase because there weren’t a lot of people around to help us take couple photos. We had the liberty to wrap the tripod on tree branches and what not so we can take cute couple photos that I totally coerced C into doing. Haha!
There was a display of ice sculptures near the port, and I even removed my gloves so I can make sure that it’s real ice. Now you can imagine how cold it was in Seoul that they could maintain these ice sculptures outdoors with no airconditioning needed. There were also a lot of tourist-made snowmen in the entire island, and some of them wore scarfs and had random objects sticking out of them. It was just too adorable! There was also a small hill where you can ride a sledge down on. Weirdly, it was mostly kids who were trying it out but C and I went on it a couple of times because it was such a fun thing to do! I guess adulting aside, we’d always be kids at heart.
After spending a couple of hours at Nami, I wanted to head over to Petite France. Since a lot of blogs do a Nami Island-Petite France-Garden of Morning Calm day tour, I figured that it would be near and we can simply take a taxi to head there. Please don’t do this unless your group is comprised of 3-4 people. The cab ride cost us 19,000 won, as it was bit far up the mountains. I was expecting for it to be around 3,500 won which was how much we paid for our cab ride to Nami from the train station. We got to Petite France before 4 PM, and I think this place would look 100% better at night. It was already so charming during the day, but all the lights that were set up will totally elevate the entire experience in this place.
Petite France is a popular shooting location for a lot of dramas and shows. One of the most popular was the iconic scene in My Love From The Star, another drama that stars Jun Ji Hyun. You can actually put your face on their cardboard cutouts, but C didn’t want to take that photo with me. Ugh!
There were a lot of Little Prince references in the area. I don’t know how or why Little Prince got popular in Korea, but it’s a nice story either way so I didn’t really mind. They had quite a lot of murals depicting scenes from the book, and themed souvenirs as well. C and I found this novelty snow globe that I wanted to buy, but ultimately decided not to and I regret not doing so up to this day!
While some of the houses are off limits because guests can actually check in here, some of the houses have vintage French interiors. This was so not how I would have envisioned Paris, but if this is how France looks like, I’d pay a visit in a couple of years then (I really need to win the lottery right now).
I swear, the entire place is just too picturesque, especially with all the actual snow. We could pretend we were on a winter trip to Europe for a bit. It’s actually the first photo-friendly place where I didn’t see any couple who were doing their prenuptial photos. C and I always manage to see couples do that in postcard-worthy places, and we think it might be because it was too cold to do so. Since we were already finished touring the place, and we’ve already taken way too many photos (not really, but we often don’t take as much as we should lol), we were conflicted on whether we would head to our last stop, Garden of Morning Calm. We came to a decision not to because it was already past 5 PM and our train back to the city is at 7 PM. While waiting for the bus, we ate some chicken skewers from the vendor right by the bus stop. We were chatting and he told us that if you don’t have the hop on hop off bus tickets, the bus ride will cost you 6,000 won per person. The bus was still 40 minutes away, so we opted to take another taxi back to the station for 17,000+ won. Not something we’d suggest for couples, especially when you’re traveling on a budget, but at this point in time, we were still within our daily budget and decided to pay for convenience. When we arrived at the station, we headed to the train station timetable to check if there’s a timeslot we can simply buy another ticket for. We were an hour early for the train ride we booked online, and the waiting area is freezing. The convenience store at the train station didn’t have seats inside so we knew we would have to brave the cold the entire time. The ahjusshi from inside the station’s office saw us trying to figure out the timetable, asked if we have already purchased tickets, collected our old tickets and got us new ones for the train arriving in 20 minutes. We were lucky because we got the last two free seats, and the group that came in after us who wanted to exchange their tickets was told of this news. C and I bought snacks from the convenience store so we can snack on the one-hour train ride back.
Upon getting off at Yongsan Station, C and I headed to Myeongdong because I wanted to feed him chicken that he would actually enjoy. We used Google Maps to find the nearest branch of Yoogane (I think there were two branches in Myeongdong alone), and we finally had cheese dakgalbi! I swear, I lure C into going to places with me with the promise of chicken. This serving was marked as good for two people, but I don’t know why that is because it clearly is good for one more. Seoul is probably one of the places I would never travel solo in simply because I’d waste a lot of good food.
We roamed around Myeongdong and ate some more street food. I wasn’t able to take photos of everything we ate because it was freezing and I already had my camera inside my backpack. I did take this one photo of the pomegranate juice since we had an inside joke about it from when I last went to Seoul with my friends. Safe to say, pomegranate juice is good for your metabolism. 😀 And that’s it for our third day in Seoul! It was not that eventful but we did get to take stunning winter photos amidst the -16 degree weather. Definitely worth it!
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TEESH || PHILIPPINES