Insadong Girl (#KoreaTrip Day 4)

The fourth days in Korea, I dedicated myself to see touristy places. So, I went to Jogyesa Temple, Insa-dong, Namdaemun Market, and Namsan Tower. Quite a lot, huh?

Having a big breakfast of Galbi, Lee Ho Joung and I left to explore Jogyesa Temple. Jogyesa Temple is located in the center of Seoul. It is one of touristy places to those who want to experience Buddhist culture. Fortunately, it was the time for Chrysanthemum to blow. I was so happy to see colorful flowers blooming every time I gazed around. Seeing colorful blooming flowers directly boosted up my mood. Even though the wind chilled my bones, it didn't take out my spirit to explore more.

I saw many locals visited Jogyesa Temple on that day. I barely saw tourist except myself. They devoted in front of the statue. They prayed inside the temple. They ignored my existence. Yet, I could not ignore their existences. I observed. I really did want to take pictures of their being so devoted while praying. I just could not. So, I took away my phone camera and let my eyes captivated by them praying. It was a beautiful view to see. A beautiful surroundings.

While visiting Jogyesa, it is worth taking a look at Insadong street. Just like Myeongdong which is packed with any kind of shops, Insadong is packed with a lot of shops too. The difference is Insadong is packed with traditional and antiques stores. I found wooden tea houses, boutique galleries and street vendors selling traditional snacks, art products, stationery, potteries, porcelains, bookstores, and other souvenirs in affordable prices.

I went in to several art product stores. The art products they sold were totally different from what I saw in my country. They sold cute, insightful, yet useful at the same time with affordable prices. I wonder how could they came up with such an idea to make one? Wanjon Daebak! They are totally genius!

I took a look inside souvenirs shops also. It was an old building selling daily-used traditional Korean souvenirs. The shopkeeper was too busy playing games on his old computer so he did not bother when I first came in the shop and several people came in after me. Without so much thinking, I came up with plenty of bookmarks of traditional Korean women wearing beautifully colorful Hanbok.

Well, shopping really drained out my energy (and wallet, too). So, Lee Ho Joung and I stopped at the street vendors and bought Korean traditional snacks. She said that her mom used to eat those kind of snacks when she was little. Sitting on a rock in the middle of Insadong street under a bright of blue sky while eating Korean traditional snacks and sharing stories had made our afternoon.

A moment later, Lee Ho Joung rushed me to visit this famous stall. I thought they were selling long curly yellow cookies. Turned out they were selling ice cream. It was not cone. The shapes were many. They even could make it stretched like a half-circled or a crane. And they pumped the soft ice cream inside. It was the only stall and the name was Jipangi Soft Ice Cream. Well, that was Lee Ho Joung told me as it was all written in Hangul. :p

The next thing I remembered was we were strolling insice Ssamziegil, a multi-level, open courtyard mall, with Jipangi Ice Cream on our hands.

Ssamziegil was truly a gem. There were a lot of unique and cheap stores inside. If you are lucky, there are also pop-stores. Ssamziegil is designed in a unique way. The central space is open air. The buildings were circulating around its center. So it's like a combination of street and building. We walked through the ramp to the rooftop while along the ramp our eyes were pampered by as much as interesting shops. Once we got to the rooftop, there was the hanging garden where people put love messages on the wall. You could also sit back, relax and take a sip of coffee while looking at the sky. Is not it nice? Very!

We had our lunch at Miss Lee Star Cafe where it's famous for its old Korean lunch box called Dosirak. Dosirak contained rice, kimchi, sausages, and seaweed. Lee Ho Joung told me to shake the metal container box before eat. That was the way of old Korean people used to eat for lunch. I was wondering how could this kind of nice and healthy habit which was bringing our own delicious lunch box from home was left behind? Lee Ho Joung told me that it's because nowadays lunch is being served at school so the kids  are no longer bringing Dosirak to school. I was very upset with the new school regulations. Yet, I was happy Miss Lee Star Cafe is still serving Dosirak to people so the traditional culture won't be forgotten easily. :)

We headed to Namdaemun Market once our tummy were full. Namdaemun Market offers inexpensive clothing, housewares, fabrics, jewely, accessories, toys, food, flowers, stationery, and appliances. Basically, I think I could find almost everything here, under the sun. Yes, Namdaemun is an open air market. It has endless street vendor stalls. And it's very crowded. Seriously. I get bumped around easily. I took care much of my bags and belongings here just to be careful of not losing my precious belongings. And that's why I did not take much photos.

We were quite tired after strolling here and there. Yet, we still have one more places to go.....up there. We took up our last strength to go up to Namsan Tower, the symbol of Seoul. It is located in Namsan Mountain. We walked from Namdaemun Market to Namsan Orumi. Namsan Orumi is a slanted elevator Namsan Tunnel 3 to Namsan Cable Car. The free Namsan Orumi took us high to Namsan Cable Car that lead us to Namsan Tower. Such a long journey, huh? Right. And I was loosing my breath already back then. Ha!

We only went up to the entrance to observatory as we ran out of money to go up to observatory in tower 3F. But, the view at the entrance was mesmerizing also. It was so crowded by lovers who wanted to put and lock their love in lock gate. I found out that a man asked his girlfriend to marry him the same day I went to Namsan Tower. How sweet.. :'D

So, we spent the rest of the day sitting and eating Hoettok while enjoying the beautiful sun setat Namsan tower. Oh, Lee Ho Joung told me that in the tower 5F, there is a restaurant that Jun Ji Hyun and Kim Soo Hyun used in the drama My Love From Another Star. Well, that tells about how expensive the restaurant is.

That day I saw another places that opened up my eyes. Korea is truly beautiful, and clean, and mesmerizing. And I could live another day in.....Korea.


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