View down a river

Seoul, Part 2

Thick smog hung over Seoul for most of my visit, casting a beautiful steel blue light on everything. In fact, the first smog free day didn’t arrive until it was time for me to leave. The air quality was consistently “very unhealthy” according to my weather app.

Smog hanging over city
Seoul smog
Woman cutting onions on table in the street
Green onions

I could smell these green onions before I saw them. Quite a few people prepared food on tables outside of their shops and restaurants.

Bagged live octopus in tank

Man with bags stacked on bike

Illustrated transport cards
Tmoney cards

These are the Tmoney cards for public transport. The cute designs are Kakao Friends. Mine was Little Muzi (a radish in rabbit clothes), the one playing with a caterpillar.

Cash was needed to purchase and top up the cards — you can top up in convenience stores or machines in subway stations. Station machines had a multi-language option, so the whole process was really easy despite me not understanding a word of Korean.

Man waiting for train in quiet subway
Seoul subway

The subway stations and trains were SO clean. Impressive given how populous the city is! They also had these Relief Goods Storage boxes filled with emergency items like smoke masks, water, first aid kits etc.

Box containing emergency goods
Relief Goods Storage, Seoul

Emergency goods in cabinet

Man demonstrating gas mask use

Then you board the train and watch videos explaining how to cope with various disaster situations. Oddly comforting in that everyone would know what to do, regardless of whether they speak Korean or not. One of the videos was slightly more comical because it explained the dangers of travelling on an escalator with untied shoelaces.

Subway passengers sitting in a line

People sat at tables, surrounded by books
느티책방 (Neuli Bookstore)

느티책방 (Neuli Bookstore) is a gem of a bookshop café, tucked down a scrappy alley. I loved this place and could have spent hours looking at all the books! They had seating and reading rooms on other floors, as well as a small roof terrace. Noting this place doesn’t show up on Google Maps, it’s better to use Naver Map if you plan to visit.

Books on high shelves
느티책방 (Neuli Bookstore)
View down a river

Dimly lit alley

Dead flowers hanging out of postbox

I’d love to know why these flowers were placed in the letterbox! I’m even more curious about the fact they’ve never moved — the postie has clearly adjusted to working around them.

Cooked octopus
Myeongdong Night Market

Myeongdong Night Market was a fantastic experience. We walked through the streets grazing on whatever we fancied. I tried cheese balls, japchae (rice noodles with vegetables), gyeranppang (egg bread), vegetarian dumplings and tanghulu (sugar coated strawberries) . The strawberries were nice but I’m more of a savoury person, so I enjoyed the other dishes a lot more. I wish I’d taken more photos of the food market but I was too busy eating.

Cheesy egg bread cooking outdoors
Gyeranppang (Korean egg bread)
Man cooking meat at a market
Myeongdong Night Market
Lit sign in the shape of a yuzu

Neon lights in alley

People walking down street at night

Neon signs at night

Illuminated menu with meal photos
Korean menu

Dishes I never see at home… tripe and pork entrails!

Spotlight shining on 302 sign

Bar 302 was a hidden gem. We walked down a dimly lit side street, up a seedy looking stairway, and found the bar behind a metal gate in a dark hallway. Not somewhere you’d stumble upon randomly. I forgot to take any photos inside but there are a few here. We drank some great wine and polished off some fantastic cheese. It had a really relaxed atmosphere too, perfect all round.

More photos in part 3.

1 comment on “Seoul, Part 2

  1. Wanderseoul

    This was such a lovely read. Ane the photography is a gem to the eyes, very well done! Thank you for sharing your Seoul experiences

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