I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Meanwhile I’m back with the third installment in my Korea diaries series. So far, I have covered my first week in Seoul in volumes 1 and 2 and we’ve now made it to Friday July 15.
That day I had made plans to meet my Norwegian friend Ida for lunch in 연희동. I took the bus from Gongdeok – normally I wouldn’t mind the walk there but that day was just sooo hot!
We both needed a good cooling down, so we first went to a coffee shop for a much-needed iced americano. It’s my preferred drink over the summer and I can drink bucket-loads when given the chance 🙂
While sipping on the iced coffees we caught up on the ups and downs from the past 3 years. Ida, who is studying at Yonsei, was happy that her boyfriend had just been finally discharged from the military and had just come back from a brief celebratory vacation. I shared stories from my life in Denmark, my job at the university, and my side hustle teaching Korean.
For lunch we went to yet another 냉면 naengmyeon place, this time a very famous one in Yeonhuidong that I had previously been to 3 years ago with some of my colleagues from Sogang.
For dessert, we crossed over to Yeonnamdong, where I was thrilled to discover that my favorite cupcake cafe Veranda cupcake was still open!
Before parting, we walked a bit around the neighborhood which looked mostly the same although a lot of construction was going on.
On Saturday I had made plans to meet my Dutch friend Nicky for dinner at the vegan restaurant Plant – also in 연남동. Since I had the rest of the day to myself I decided to head to Gangnam and take a look around.
When I lived in Dangsan 3 years ago, I learned that the fastest way to get to Gangnam – if you’re not near subway line 2 – is usually to take the express train to Sinnonhyeon station, which is really just at the end of the same street as Gangnam station. It’s way faster, and if you go early the express train will not be too crowded.
After browsing the (book) shops in Gangnam and the nearby Starfield Mall, I headed over to Bongeunsa Temple. A quiet gem in the middle of all the concrete and skyscrapers.
In the evening I walked from Gongdeok to Yeonnamdong to meet Nicky. Nicky is currently doing her PhD in neuroscience in Korea and is one of the smartest people I know. We last met when I was in Korea in January 2020 but a lot had happened and there was so much catching up to do. Btw Plant is an awesome restaurant. Even non-vegans or non-vegetarians love it. When I lived in Seoul there was only a Plant restaurant in Itaewon but now there’s also one in Yeonnamdong. Yay!
After dinner at Plant, we went for a long walk along the trail and ended up in a cute cafe that served Korea’s latest dessert craze. The croffle. A croissant served up like a waffle. As if that isn’t decadent enough, we opted for the pain au chocolat version. Well, at least we shared it 😅 And when I checked my phone before bed, I had walked over 30,000 steps that day so I guess a croffle is in order!
Sunday! Sunday I met my friend Sang for dinner. She’s Korean but lived in New Zealand for a few years as a child and also studied in Stockholm, so her English is amazing. She’s one of the few Korean friends that I speak with strictly in English because that’s how good she is. She had suggested that we meet at a vegan Chinese restaurant in Itaewon and I loved that idea. I do not particularly enjoy Itaewon but I do very much enjoy the food you can get there.
Since I was staying in Korea for a few weeks I needed to do some laundry around halfway, so before dinner Sunday became laundry day – much needed indeed. Then around 5 pm I decided to walk from Gongdeok to Itaewon since I had mostly been walking from my hotel room to the laundry room that day.
It wasn’t too hot and the walk to Itaewon was surprisingly pleasant.
I met up with Sang and we went to the restaurant. We ordered some mock chicken in orange sauce and a spicy tofu dish. Delish! Then we walked around Itaewon before getting a gelato. I only eat one flavor of ice cream in Korea – green tea! It may be an acquired taste but I love the combination of sweet and bitter and creamy.
This post concludes my second weekend in Seoul. I’ll be back with more stories and pictures soon!