With the jet-lag wearing off, we've started to explore a bit. Our good friends from Michigan, Alan and Ashley, are also here in Seoul. It's been wonderful for us to have a built-in friendship in an unfamiliar place. Alan and Ashley moved over at the end of July, and are a wealth of information! Ashley is totally crushing it - she knows so much about the language, food, and bus routes already!
We met up and walked around Namsangol Hanok Village. No one lives there (the houses were restored and relocated from other parts of the city) but it was neat to see traditional Korean hanoks.
To escape the heat, we ordered bingsu. It's a mound of shaved ice, topped with sweet red beans, and scoops of green tea ice cream. The four of us couldn't finish it - they are enormous. Please see Andrew's head as reference.
As we walked around the markets, we stumbled across the Sungnyemun Gate. I love the contrast between modern and ancient. There are beautiful examples of this all over the city.
The next morning, we walked in the monthly "Turtle Marathon". The word marathon is a bit generous since it's actually a 4.5 mile walk up Namsam mountain to N.Seoul tower. The whole experience was hysterical. The theme of the event was "including foreign tourists", and oh…they did. Andrew (being a tall, blonde, white guy and an obvious foreigner) was interviewed, photographed and pulled up to dance. He even made the paper. At the end of the walk, all participants were entered into a raffle…with a separate raffle box for foreigners. Considering there were about 30 foreigners there, the odds were completely stacked in our favor.
Three out of four won a prize. If that's not incentive to exercise, I don't know what is!