Awesome Korean Adventures

Living and engineering like never before

Body and Seoul

Seoul trip! On our first weekend here after the orientation period ended, the Ajou buddy people arranged different kinds of teams and schedules for a sightseeing trip to Seoul. I went with Team B which is led by my overly energetic buddy Park Soo-Hwang or Dave. By the way, Asian people have these English names that, more often than not, don’t match how they look. My business & statistics professor’s English name is Ethan, but honestly, he looks more like a Charles. Regardless, Dave was nice enough to get us a bus that we could use to go around.

Gyeongbokgung, the first attraction we visited, is a royal palace from the Joseon Dynasty era built in 1395. The palace was enormous in terms of area and surrounded from all sides by huge walls. We entered through the main gate, called Gwanghwamun gate, which stood out from the rest with its double-roof, animal statues and guards with their tonnin-seteli faces. The inner area was a large open space filled with tourists taking pictures as well as young Korean students on field trips. Although they had guided tours around the place, I went looking by myself instead. There were at least two museums showing old Korean style architecture and design. Not only that, but a many other cool looking buildings that have names too hard for Finns to pronounce.

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Afterwards we walked around for a while. Close to the main gate was the statue of King Sejong, the guy who invented the Korean alphabet, hangul. In hindsight, he probably should have made different letters for both “L” and “R”, but as long as he didn’t come up with honorifics, he’s a cool guy in my book.

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For lunch we went to the populous Tongin Market. The whole place was like a narrow hallway between two streets and full of people. I think we went there at rush hour. On first glance there were a lot of stalls selling all sorts of food but also shops selling shoes and other clothes. Apparently there are many market areas similar to that in Seoul. If nothing else, it definitely seemed like a great place to get foot-and-mouth disease. Since I wasn’t super hungry anyways, I only ate a kimbap and some chicken while ignoring the fact, that it was served in a coffee mug.

Next up was the old town of Seoul, the Bukchon Hanok village, also known as hill climbing simulator. To this day my feet have nightmares of that place. It honestly felt more like a tourist trap than anything else with all the super expensive souvenirs. Overall it was quite disappointing.

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After an exhausting day, our trip concluded at Hangang Liver. The warm temperature mixed with the cool river wind made the weather feel very nice. My feet still sore, I sat around listening to a Korean artist. She was a good singer and very pretty. Later I hung out with a bunch of friendly Uzbekistani people and we ate at some burger place. It was like a poor man’s McDonald’s, which is saying a lot. Feeling instant regret, I longed for the days of unidentifiable spicy food and thought about the missed opportunity of beer & chicken. As more time passed and the sky grew ever darker, we said our goodbyes to Hangang and left for Suwon. Eventually, after 2 hours in traffic we actually got there. Next time I’ll go with a bike.

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