Keeping with tradition, we started our first full day off with a nutritious (lol) breakfast from CU. CU is one of several major convenience stores in South Korea and there was one a block away from where we were staying. There was also a 7-Eleven across the street, and a GS25 nearby too. The Big Trifecta!
Chooch always gets some kind of sickeningly sweet breadstuffs, preferably ones that come with stickers.
And mostly every day I would have a soft-boiled egg and a samgak kimbap, which is similar to the Japanese onigiri. I never took any pictures of them, but here’s one that I got from the Internet:
You can tell that’s not my picture because I haven’t had bare nails in probably 10 years.
They are SO SATISFYING. It was also provided as one of the snack options on the flight home and I cried a little, knowing that it would be my last one for God only knows how long!
And I usually would have banana milk or some type of cold coffee drink. This one is a special BTS Cold Brew and that’s supposed to look like J-Hope but doesn’t really.
Oh, and Henry always had the exact same red bean and cream bun.
Every single morning.
I can’t remember if I mentioned this already, but for this trip, we were based in my favorite neighborhood of Hongdae. We opted for a guesthouse this time, and it was basically an apartment that a college student would use and it was perfect for our needs because it had a kitchenette and a washing machine which came in handy because it was a billion degrees and humid nearly every day so it was nice to be able to wash our clothes after a long day of trekking around town.
Waiting for Henry outside of the hotel. My eye was hurting that morning but I still put a contact in because I’m an asshole and it would start to be REALLY FUCKED later that afternoon, so good job, Erin.
First thing’s first – gotta get a TMoney card for the subway! The subway is always a cause of contention between Henry and Chooch because Henry naturally wants to take the lead but Chooch Knows Everything and wants to argue about the routes Henry chooses. I just go along with whatever line they tell me we’re taking and pray that we’re going to get there. And to be fair to both of them, we spent way less time spinning in circles on the streets of Seoul, trying to get our directional bearings. Henry said that Google maps got a lot better to use in South Korea so thank you for saving our vacation (and family), Google.
Last year, we didn’t get to pick our cards because when we were at the machine in Seoul Station, trying to figure it out, there were these two German guys who had just taken the subway one last time before headed to the airport, so they gave us their cards (you have to pay for the card itself, so it was really nice of them but then I was stuck using an ugly card all last time! THESE THINGS MATTER TO ME!). I conned Henry into getting couples cards with me, lol. Poor Chooch got stuck with some ugly yellow card with a weird heart, because it was the only youth option. You can even go to various convenience stores and have even more design options, like Kpop groups or whatever, but I figured it would just be like, BTS and Blackpink so I was fine with the Line Friends choice.
(Even though I REALLY wanted a Kakao one but that machine wasn’t in the station where we got the cards that morning, ugh forever. I focus on these little things!
OMG it felt so amazing to be inside Seoul’s subway stations again! I swear, you could build an itinerary solely around exploring all of their subway stations, they’re amazing and quirky and you can do a lot of shopping in some of them too! Chooch grabbed breakfast in one of them at some point because he didn’t like the thing Henry chose for him at CU one morning.
My itinerary for the first day changed numerous times. Originally, we were going to go back to Changdeokgung Palace because last year, we didn’t do the optional garden tour. But when we got there at 9am, it said that the tours of the garden were guided, and the earliest one didn’t start until 10:30.
But we stayed long enough for Henry to take a horrible, tilted picture of us.
The next plan was to revisit Bukchon Hanok Village because it was pretty crowded last year and they were doing construction on one of the hanok on the main, most photographable street. However! On the way there, we ran smack into Onion, a cafe I wanted to try and it was such a good call!
The cafe is built into a hanok, so you get a real traditional Korean vibe being there. And the staff was so nice!
Their bread selection was top tier. I wanted Henry to get one of those giant dusted pencil looking things but Chooch made him get some chocolate thing instead because Chooch does this thing where we all have to share our treats with him but then he doesn’t share his with us so I have no idea how delicious his strawberry thing was but I can guess that it probably landed somewhere on the scale between VERY and MOST AMAZING.
I mostly just got an iced Americano at every cafe because it was hot and humid as fuck everyday and I wasn’t craving all the sugary drinks I had last time around.
I chose to sit outside on one of the pillowed steps and Henry was so annoyed because it was really only meant to be a two-seater so he had to alternate between standing and crouching, hahaha. Chooch already has chocolate on his mouth in this picture because he reached straight for Henry’s chocolate roll thing before even tasting his own selection!
I got this masterful thing that had a large smear of red bean on top of a veritable slab of butter. Holy shit, it was delicious but Henry the trash compactor ended up having to finish it for me, with pleasure I’m sure.
There were two ladies sitting next to us who asked me to take their picture, and then in return, one of them wanted to take ours too so we had to pretend like we liked each other even though Henry was still griping about where I chose to sit and I was like SORRY THAT I WANTED TO HAVE A MORE TRADITIONAL EXPERIENCE, HANK, WE CAN SIT AT A TABLE AT THE NEXT ONE. God.
Then we burned off all those calories by walking around Bukchon Hanok Village, which we found immediately this time around instead of wandering around a maze of twisted streets and alleys last year like a bunch of asshole tourists looking up at the sky, but that will be a story for another day. Like, tomorrow maybe. Or maybe later today. I’ve been up since 4am so we’ll see where the day takes me.