Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Korea Trip 2015 Day 2: Yeouido Cherry Blossom

11 April 2015                                                

Today is the day of cherry blossom viewing! I had promised to meet Heejung at Gwangheungchang station at 9:30am and we will have breakfast before heading to Yeouido. Before I left the guesthouse, my host had cooked breakfast and asked whether I'd like to try. I accepted her offer and had a little of her simple cooking before setting off. She told me the way to the nearest subway station (Noksapyeong Station). She said I should take the bus for around 4 minutes and get off at the bus stop to go to Noksapyeong station. I timed carefully and observed whether there is any subway station nearby while I was on the bus. On the 3rd minute mark, I made up my mind to alight at the next stop. However, the next thing I knew was that the bus was crossing Han River! Knowing that I had missed the right stop, I quickly pressed the bell and alighted at the nearest bus stop after Han River. I checked the map and had to detour through Banpo Station to Gwangheungchang. In the end, I was late for one hour!

Anyway, Heejung still greeted me with a bright smile and brought me to this "Mandu" restaurant called "Mapo Mandu". They sell all sorts of mandu (dumplings) and the best was Kalbi Mandu.

Mapo Mandu Stall
We ordered about thirty mandus and we finished them all. Later she brought me to this awesome bingsu dessert restaurant called Okrumong. It sells the best red bean bingsu that I have ever had in my life! The blended ice was so soft and tender, with some milk flavour. Not to mention the red bean paste which was just as tender and sweet. I really miss this bingsu.

Okrumong Pat bingsu

After that, we headed to IFC mall, an underground mall in Yeouido. Finally I managed to fix my phone there after buying a Usim card earlier at GS25. We then headed to the much anticipated Yeouido Yunjungro cherry blossom festival. The weather was sunny today. However, it was so so crowded that we could barely move. Thanks to my selfie stick, I could still take photos despite the crowd.

Cherry blossom at Yunjungro

As seen from website pictures, the cherry blossom formed an arch over the street. When there is a strong breeze, the petals would fall like snow. When we were halfway through the street, we heard announcement about celebrity Haha's arrival at 4pm which was about 40 minutes from the time we heard the announcement. Disbelief, we double check again with the second announcement and indeed, Haha and Skull, the famous Reggae duo is coming to Yunjungro to perform! We felt as if we just struck the lottery.

We headed to the bay of Han river which was less crowded while waiting for Haha's arrival. When it was time, we managed to get a front "stand" from the side of the stage. The performance began with another duo warming up the stage before Haha and Skull took centre stage. The crowd went wild and I couldn't take much photo because it was too squeezy. The performance lasted for an hour and the climax was when they sang "Busan Vacance". That was the only song I knew from Haha and Skull and it was really fun jumping to the upbeat song, especially tomorrow I will be going to Busan!

Haha and Skull at Yunjungro Cherry Blossom Festival

Heejung and I actually planned to ride a bicycle and have a picnic around Han River, However, it was just too crowded and we decided that it wouldn't be much fun to do that. Hence, we headed out from Yeouido and went to Yeonnamdong, a quiet neighbourhood area with traditional stalls. I was surprised that there were many chinese restaurants there. We found that at Yeonnamdong there were also cherry blossom trees and it was much quiet here so we could enjoy the view and peaceful atmosphere.

Peaceful Yeonnamdong

After having dinner at Yeonnamdong, Heejung recommended to go to Sokchon Lake which was near Jamsil station. Heejung said Jamsil ground is actually settling and there is still the construction of a skyscraper Lotte World 2 going on despite the settling ground conditions. We bought some snacks and beer for picnic at the lake.

Sokchon Lake was really beautiful at night and cherry blossom trees are all around the lake. And there was Lotte World theme park too! It was less crowded and not as many tourists here compared to Yunjungro. I like the atmosphere here much more that Yeouido.

Beautiful Cherry Blossom at Sokchon Lake

We found a place to sit down and had our snacks and beer. We chatted for quite awhile and Heejung suddenly asked me "What is the standard of friends in Singapore?" I was taken aback and asked her to clarify her question. Then she said, in Korea, friends are only relationship between two person of the same age. So she wondered if the culture in Singapore is the same. I told her that in our culture, we can treat someone senior as our friend and call him/her by name. She thought that this kind of culture is better because it brings people closer. I sort of agree with that.

It was quite late already and we ended our cherry blossom day parting at the subway station. It was really fun getting to meet Heejung again and she was very kind to bring me around till so late especially that her house is far from Seoul. I really appreciate her hospitality.

On my way home, I lost my way to Eunjin's house. I read the address that she gave me on a paper and was certain that I could find my way. But I couldn't. I had a screenshot of her house address in my phone but my phone had died. Fortunately, I brought along my powerbank. I recharged my phone and checked the screenshot. It was different from the one Eunjin had written. I found the street of the screenshot and managed to find my way back to Eunjin's house. It was already very late when I finally reached her house and everyone was asleep.

I will be going to Busan tomorrow morning and looking forward to my meeting with Eunjin!

No comments:

Post a Comment