We’re continuing with my bite-sized accounts of my latest trip to Seoul and we’ve made it to the second week.
On Monday July 19, I got up early and took the bus to Hyehwa station. I like the area around Hyehwa and Daehangno and always hike to the top of Naksan when I’m there. That day was extremely hot but I braved the heat and made my way to the top where a lovely view of Seoul awaited me. When you see the pictures I’m sure you’ll know why I love this place so much.
Another great thing about Naksan park is its proximity to the Ihwa mural village – an artistic neighborhood with lots of mural paintings and cute decorations. I always made a point of bringing visitors here when I lived in Korea and couldn’t wait to go back myself. It’s a residential neighborhood so tourists should always be mindful of those living here and not be too loud but it’s definitely worth it coming here for that perfect Seoul picture.
After spending the entire morning in the Hyehwa area I took the subway to Hapjeong where I had made plans to meet one of my former Sogang students for lunch. We met at one of my favorite places – cafe Leafy where we had a gorgonzola pizza and a salad. It was fun to catch up and talk about our time at Sogang. I always appreciate it when former students reach out and let me know how they’re doing.
The next morning I headed to Yeouido to go for a walk in the park. This is where all the cherry blossoms bloom in April and people from all over Seoul come to Yeouido to take pictures of the pretty but short-lived flowers.
At lunchtime, I headed to Hongdae where I had agreed to meet Kyeongeun from TTMIK for lunch. We had stayed in touch during the pandemic but also hadn’t seen each other for three years so there was a lot of catching up to do. After a delicious lunch at an Italian restaurant, she invited me to the TTMIK office, so I could say hi to the rest of the team. (For those wondering, I did not take pictures since I didn’t want to disturb them while they were working). It was fun to be back at the TTMIK office and everyone was so welcoming. I ended up sitting in their lunch room talking with old and new members of the TTMIK family for almost an hour – in Korean obviously. So much fun.
On Wednesday I finally met up with my friend and travel buddy, Anton Hur or JB as I call him. He had invited me to Mullae, which had initially surprised me. Mullae is an area in Yeongdeungpo which is not considered very posh, to put it mildly. I actually lived in Yeongdeungpo for a while but even then I tried to get away from it whenever I could as it can be perceived as quite gray and boring. Address in hand I got off the bus and let the GPS guide me to what seemed to have been a warehouse at some point in time. It looked very industrial and not at all like a place you would meet anyone for lunch.
I double-checked the address and went inside. This is what awaited me:
The interior was so cool and unexpected. Because it used to be a warehouse, the cafe was really spacious and although there were a lot of visitors, it did not feel crowded. The food was quite decent too.
After lunch, we walked around the Mullae district and I could see how so many of the old industrial buildings had been turned into cafes and shops. It’s definitely an overlooked neighborhood that’s worth visiting.
JB then took me to a rooftop cafe where we could sit outside in the shade and talk about a shared passion of ours – Korean literature. I got a ton of new book recommendations that I’m excited to start reading.
Definitely not the last time I visit Mullae!
That’s all for now, folks. Have a lovely week 😊