As I write this, I realize we’ve been eating so much good food lately — Korean, Japanese, today some Korean-Chinese — that I’m going to do a food-related blog soon. So, stay tuned for that.
Ah, Christmas vacation. It’s been wonderful. Lots of sleep, lots of delicious food, quality time with my husband, with friends, with our families back home. Been to the movies (I mostly enjoyed “Into the Woods”), discovered the amazing saunas and hot tubs in our apartment building, started re-watching the “Lord of the Rings” series, and in between all that, we went ice skating and today I took a nice walk through the Jeong-dong neighborhood. Ok one thing at a time.
If you want to go ice skating in Seoul over the holidays, I know of two options — at Seoul Plaza, or at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. We already knew that ice skating at Seoul Plaza was pretty cheap, just 1,000 won for the skates rental and an hour of skating, wow! Seriously. As in, that’s less than $1 USD. So we went there. They looked like brand new skates, too. They control the flow of people on the rink by assigning you an hour time slot, and they also clean the ice every hour, so you get to skate on fresh ice. (Also, they have lockers available to store your personal items. They cost 500 won to rent.) It was fun. An hour is more than enough time. AKA just enough time to skate long enough without falling! NO, we didn’t fall. We’re too awesome. Honestly, though, you’re dodging people left and right. Kids whizzing all over the place, then the snail pacers. But I will reiterate — it was fun! Just take a look (I somehow managed to record and skate without wiping out):
Today I went deeper into the Jeong-dong neighborhood behind (or is it to the west of?) Deoksugung Palace. Remember? Last time I tried doing the walk along outside of the palace wall, I only made it as far as the Seoul Museum of Art. Today I kept walking in the brisk winter cold, past the Chungdong First Methodist Church, past the Ewha Girls’ High School, up to the former Russian legation (all that’s left is one of its towers), past various embassies — British, Norwegian, New Zealand, Netherlands — past the Jeongdong Theater, past the Salvation Army headquarters, and past the Seoul Anglican Cathedral (where I tried to go inside, but the doors were closed).
It may sound boring to most of you, but I love going for walks and getting to know different neighborhoods. Some of these buildings are really old and cool to look at. I also find that, when you venture off the main avenues and popular tourist areas, you catch a glimpse of locals’ daily life. Like the young girls walking out in groups from the Ewha Girls’ High School, just chit chatting and happy to be going home. Or the Salvation Army volunteers heading back to the headquarters building after a long day of standing out in the cold ringing that little bell. You also discover new things like the Jeongdong Theater. I had no idea that was there, I just stumbled upon it. I grabbed a pamphlet, and now I know where to go for some traditional Korean performances.
I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays as much as we are. Ready for 2015?!?!
Up next: Delicious food!