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  • Global Seoul Mate Mission: A Fun Weekend in Jongno!

  • Alfonso Delgado 979

    s part of my mission as a Global Seoul Mate, I checked in at a B&B in the Jongno District, just next to Insa-dong, to experience a different kind of a weekend. I live in Seoul, and actually, Jongno is just seven minutes by bus from my neighborhood in Hannam-dong in the Yongsan District. Although it felt weird, I simply had to pretend like a tourist during the weekend!

    I got to my preferred B&B place at the SK Hub Building right next to Exit 6 of Anguk Station on a cold Friday night at around 8PM. I was a starving by that time and I had to find a place to quiet my rumbling stomach. After dropping off my bag, I hurried down and follow where my hungry tummy led me.

    Insadongs Koong Mandu
    Luckily, Koong Mandu, my favorite restaurant in Insadong that serves the best mandu Korean dumpling in the whole of Seoul, was still open! Although, there were just a few customers inside finishing their dinner, I decided to join them. And from the menu, I then ordered a meal of six mandus swimming in a bowl of hot savory broth that could serve two hungry tourists! Ha-ha-ha! Their mandus are big, but for a starving person, the flavor of the minced meat filling and the softness of the mandu wrapper made it easy to gobble them down effortlessly. It has been a long time since my last visit here. I was happy to have made it before they closed for the day.

    The Cheonggye Stream and Coffeesmith cafe
    After a heavy dinner, I decided to walk it off by strolling towards the Cheonggye Stream, where I stopped by at the Tourism Information booth to ask for a map of Bukchon. It was very cold outside, but since the crowd that night filling the streets of Jongno didnt look bothered by the weather, I tried to share their spirit.

    At the Tourism Information booth, I told Miss Ryu, the information officer, that I planned to visit Bukchon village the next morning she then pulled out a map of the village from the shelf and explained the most interesting spots of the place to me. Every night, the booth closes at 10PM and again, I was just in time! Afterwards, I continued my stroll along the Cheonggye Stream and stopped by the Coffeesmith cafe to study the map and update my blog while having a hot cafe mocha. It felt sitting indoors with a hot cup of coffee!

    Bukchon Village
    This is perhaps the most famous place in Seoul where one can find a lot of clustered hanok, or Korean traditional homes. When I got there the next morning, a lot of international tourists were already there strolling the village. This place, by the way, is still a residential area. So, everyone is required to be quiet while walking around, but groups of tourists from Asia were noisy as they scampered around taking photos of each other. If only I could speak their language…

    I followed the map that I got from the Tourist Information booth and had a great time revisiting the place. I was here a few times in 2006 when I was invited inside the house of Mr. David Kilburn, a British gentleman, who was an advocate of the preserving hanoks in this area. His house was a location of the movie, Empty House or 빈집.

    My visit to Bukchon deserves a separate blog as I had a lot of photographs taken during Saturday morning when it was a bit cloudy, and the next day, when all the hanoks were covered with a thin layer of snow that fell the night before. I got there early in the morning to make sure I photographed the snow before it melted.

    Snowy Seoul
    In the afternoon, I passed by Daehangno where I intended to catch a Korean musicale that night, even though I dont understand. Ha-ha-ha! This was where my friend Cielo and I caught Hwarang, a Korean musicale, when she came to Seoul last time.

    It turned out, while I was around Hyewha Station, I had to call it a day when heavy snow and strong winds came blowing through the city by mid-afternoon. I would have wanted to squeeze in a visit to a palace while there was still daylight. I guess the snowy weather didnt want me to.

    Insadongs Ssamz…