What’s a trip to Seoul without seeing the Han River, amiright? The air was starting to get a clearer by Sunday afternoon, so we took the subway across the Han to Yeouido, which is actually an island on the Han, and home to Seoul’s main business and banking district. Basically like Korea’s Wall Street. It definitely had a more high-end feel to it too. We originally had booked a hotel there but changed it to the Jongno area closer to our departure date and I’m glad that we did because being in Yeouido didn’t have that gritty city feel to it that Jongno has. I liked staying in Jongno because it felt more like being in the thick of things, which I enjoyed!
However, Yeouido was perfect for when we were looking for something a little quieter and slower-paced, plus that’s where the Instagram-famous I Seoul U sign was located so it was on our list.
“I Seoul U” is kind of confusing, but it’s the slogan that Korean citizens chose to represent their city brand. From what I’ve read, it essentially means that Seoul is a city that connects people. I think? Maybe? In any case, the sign is giant and cool, and it was really fun to see in person and watch everyone try to one-up each others’ poses.
Everyone was really cool and gave Chooch a chance without a dozen photo bombs.
Anyway, this sign is right smack in the middle of Yeouido Hangang Park. “Gang” means river in Korean so literally it’s the Yeouido Han River Park. Even on a March day in the high 50s, this place was full of life so I can only imagine how packed it must get in the summer! You can rent little tents to take down to the park and there were tons of people down there having picnics on blankets.
“Jesus, even at the park, people dress to impress,” Henry, aka Captain Casual muttered. That was definitely one of his main take-aways from our trip – fashion first!
The Han <3
“I’m not leaving this park until I see a Corgi,” Chooch said as we sat on a bench to spectate the park action in all of its well-dressed glory. And as if it was scripted, a couple entered the park with a Corgi, who spotted Chooch and took off running toward him, dragging his owners in his wake.
“SEE, I’M FAMOUS WITH CORGIS!” Chooch exclaimed as the Corgi licked his hands. It was so weird.
After that, we walked to some huge, glitzy mall because the YG-owned 3 Birds cafe was supposed to be there somewhere. Henry immediately hated the mall because it was overwhelmingly fancy, and have you met Henry? Not quite his scene. We did a quick walk-around the food court (which was fucking amazing and nothing like the gross shit at the food courts here in our malls) and even I was starting to feel slightly underdressed so I put a moratorium on our mission and we went back outside.
Luckily, the cafe was in another part of the mall that we walked by, and it had its own entrance so we didn’t have to go back in and feel like we were swimming upstream past all the perfect people. (To be fair, we never got any judge-y stares! Everyone in that mall was too in-the-zone to give a shit about some sloppy Americans.)
I was excited to be in 3 Birds but not excited by the intimidating barista who seemed extremely annoyed to have to take our order. This was really the only time we experienced anything like this the whole time we were there and honestly, I get that shit way more in my own damn city when I have the audacity to patronize some uppity, too-cool-for-school cafe.
Once we got our drinks and sat down, everything was much more relaxed. Chooch and I wrote some postcards while Henry…I don’t know what Henry did. Daydreamed about Henry-things like ridding the world of moss? Planned his real vacation to some Panama army base sans Erin and Chooch? Doodled “Henry <3s Ted Nugent” on the 3 Birds receipt? Took unflattering pictures of us? Clearly.
Henry was living large and DAY-DRINKING.
We went back to the hotel after this and had some convenience store snacks (I miss those convenience store triangle kimbap!), freshened up, and then started our epic trek to Naksan Park for some sunset viewing, which I wrote about already while we were still in Korea, but here are some pictures from our never-ending trudge through the Daehangno / Hyehwa area, which is a totally cool, artsy college town.
We gorged on street food after coming back down from Naksan Park and it was good. It was so, so, so good. I wish I could walk down my street and buy skewered Korean food for $1 like I could on literally every block in Seoul. Life will never be the same!
My next recap will be about Everland, the largest theme park in Korea. WOW CAN YOU STAND THE SUSPENSE.