Seoul was the last big stop on my trip (except a short stop back in Nagoya, Japan for two days to get the rest of my gear). I have always wanted to go to Seoul but actually knew very little about it before researching my trip. For some reason I had a gut feeling I'd really like the city and I was totally right! Although Seoul is a super city, I really enjoyed the fact that most of the downtown area was very walkable. You could walk from one neighborhood to another and see completely different looking parts of the city. You could be in a posh area with lots of bars and coffee shops and 30 minutes later be walking through a street market. I felt like Seoul had something to offer everyone.
One of my favor spots in Seoul was Namdaemun Market (fairly close to Seoul Station). It was a great maze of street stalls and restaurants. I found it a great place to shoot photos and meat locals. Just like everywhere in Korea, everyone was exceptionally nice. The last night I was there I was offered drinks by an older gentleman who use to study Shakespeare. Despite claiming to never have study english outside of Korea, he had a very british accent. Interesting....
Other highlights include renting a bike, taking the cable car up to Seoul tower (which as an awesome view of the city) and getting to see the premier of my friend Tammy Chu's documentary film Resilience. Its always interesting attending film festivals / events in other countries.
Out of all the big cities I visited in the last 6 weeks (Portland, San Francisco, LA, Chicago, Nagoya, Kyoto, Tokyo and Busan) I have to say Seoul was one of my favorites. The city had a good energy and reminded me in some ways of NYC. If I had to pick one city in either Japan or Korea to live in, I'd pick Seoul!
Looking southwest from the base of Seoul Tower.
Street vendors in Namdaemun.
1) Dumpling Stall = Pink 2) Bar = Green
Making it rain! Actually thats only about 9 bucks!
These two women are respobile for the dish below! So good! Old Korean women are the best!
I lived off of Bibimbap! One of my new favorite dishes!
Cooking in the alleyway in Namdaemun.
Guards in traditional dress at the national fortress.
1) Robert Frank... do you get it? 2) A sax playing, street food serving Korean!
Seoul is not just tiny back alleyways... this neighborhood had lots of posh restaurants and coffee shops!
Serving up some traditional sweets on a posh shopping street!
Shoppers in a posh (how many times can I say posh in one post?) shopping center stop to watch a street performer.
A not so posh shopping street shortly after dusk.
Wondering around at dusk with my camera in hand is my favorite thing to do when traveling!
I dont think she is staring at my camera, I think she is staring at my red hair.
An alleyway with lots of texture.
Another great looking wall!
That there is a bottle of Makkoli, a very unique Korean drink.
To the left is "Jason" and to the right is his friend. Jason bought me a drink and told me about studying Shakespeare. Seemed like a nice guy, I had to cut out early to make it in time for the film fest, wish I could have stayed longer. Oh well, maybe next time.