Seoul is my city. I could live here. I think people do nothing but shop, eat, and hike mountains. And work, of course. Maybe a lot more than I’d like. But that’s just to earn money for the shopping and the eating, and the shopping required to go hiking.
The city is plugged in and wired up, and everything is easy and comfortable and convenient. Of everything, I think my biggest culture shock will come from trying to navigate the DC metro, after the pampering on the Seoul subway (and I was only here for 6 days!).
The food is phenomenal. Traditional Korean food is probably one of the world’s best cuisines, a culture that has poured its heart into the kitchen and produced some amazing culinary delights. But modern Korean fusion is fantastic too, and the same care and vision that goes into Korean fashion and design finds its way into food too. After a year in Mongolia, where it sometimes feels like taste is an afterthought, it’s welcoming to spend a week in a country that pampers the taste buds, along with your soul.
So of course, I ate. A lot. And I shopped. Not a lot, though enough. You could spend hours exploring the cute little neighborhoods, each with their own personality, finding little stores in hideaway alleys where handmade jewelry, tea sets, and other knickknacks made by someone’s sister abound.
I didn’t hike any mountains, though I did visit the DMZ, which deserves its own post (if only for the space required for my ramblings on foreign policy and history). I think, as I end my travels, that I’ve hit a bit of travel fatigue. I could continue traveling, of course, but probably can’t muster the energy to do more than eat and shop and maybe relax in the spa. Which, really, is the perfect type of activity for Seoul.