My first encounter with Seoul was horrible.
We got on the bus in Suwon and all clambered for the last remaining seats, but alas, I was stuck standing. So there Laura and I were, stuck standing on a full bus for an hour. It was fine, standing wasn’t the problem, but it was the walking we were to do afterwards that freaked me out.
And walking from the palace to Insa-dong to Myeong-dong then toward the Namsan Tower and then back to the subway where we arrived at the Jimjilbang was a long and strenuous trek.
There were actually many things that went wrong during my one and a half day-one night stay in Seoul. Stuck standing on the long bus ride, wrong choice of footwear, dead camera battery, a friend’s wallet lost on the streets of Myeong-dong, another friend’s sudden heat stroke symptoms, and then arriving at the Jimjilbang ready to pass out on the nearest pillow only to find naked ladies and being told to take off all my clothes.
But all in all, it was a great experience.
(*The jimjilbang is a sauna/giant sleepover. You go in and strip yourselves, wash and shower and sit in the “hot tub” and/or “cold tub” while trying to avoid directly looking at someone, get out, put on the provided clothing, then head to the main area where you can sit in rooms at various temperatures and then finally sleep on a mat on the floor.)
Because my camera battery was at a 13% when I arrived in Seoul, I didn’t get many pictures, especially the pictures I wanted to take of my face distorted in pain.
The palace was beautiful though. It’s hard to imagine living there. I want to play dress up in a hanbok and stroll around the grounds, snapping orders at people. Yes, my dream will come true. Someday.