Well, this is my last post about Korea! It has only been three weeks since I left Korea, but it feels like it’s been months. School has been picking my brain apart with exams, papers, lab projects and many more cringe worthy tasks. I’m already counting down the days until summer (which is 2 weeks of freedom and then a month of summer school..)!
I visited two other cities besides Seoul and Daegu during my trip: Busan and Gyeongju. Busan was quite the drive, but it was a lovely city. It’s the 2nd largest city in South Korea and is right alongside the ocean. The roads are pretty crazy there. Most streets I’ve seen are coordinated like a grid – straight lined roads. But in Busan, it’s like a child took the city’s map and doodled whatever he wanted, and those doodles became the roads. There are so many curved and intertwining roads, especially on the busy streets! I almost died at one point crossing the streets as my cousin told me to run across right as a huge line of traffic was headed towards me. Thank goodness I’m a fast runner!
Like I said, Busan is located alongside the beach, and has stunning condos towering over the city. Anyone owning one of them would definitely be waking up to a beautiful view everyday.
After we looked around the city, we stopped by Shinsegae, the largest department store in the world. The department store is 15 stories high, and the 14th and 15th floors are golfing grounds. Each floor is designated for a certain category. So the first floor was completely dedicated to food/drinks, and each floor after that was for men, women, home, children, etc. It’s crazy just how much time people could spend shopping there.
For dinner, we went into a fish market where seafood was kept alive and fresh to be sold. There were so many kinds of fish and sea creatures. The process of how your dinner is served is quite unique as well. You would start off by seeking out the meal you would like to eat that night – lobster, king crabs, shrimps, squid, etc. Afterwards, you would negotiate prices with each fisherman and then they would take your selections to be prepared and then served at your table on the floor above. It’s the freshest seafood you could have. The freshness is so clear within the first bite. For a group of 8, we chose to have 2 king sized crabs, live octopus, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and three types of fish for the best sashimi I will ever have. It was truly a one of a kind dining experience.
The next day, we visited Gyeongju. This city ended up being one of my favorite cities to visit. It’s much quieter than the other cities but is filled with so many things to do. We first stopped at the graves of past kings and royalty members. There are a bunch of mounds everywhere. Each mound is the grave of some form of royalty. Mounds that were side by side, with one mound being bigger than the other, were the graves of a king and his wife.
Gyeongju is quite a historical place. We visited two old royal grounds where the kings would live with their royal subjects within a gated community. Due to modernization, only a few of the original buildings remained. I’m a huge history junkie, and it’s mainly because it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around how long Earth has been around for some many lifetimes to take place. To think I was standing on the grounds where a king use to rule is crazy to me. Now it’s a tourist site with cars running alongside.
To end our stay in Gyeongju, we rented pocketbikes to ride around the city. Originally, we were all suppose to have our international drivers license to rent mopeds. Unfortunately, my brother and I were the only ones to get our license….so we opted for pocketbikes. Pocketbikes are like mini mopeds. They still have quite the speed, just smaller! It cost $10 per hour to rent, and it is well worth the money. We drove these all around Gyeongju – through the park, along traffic in the streets and on the sidewalk. I wish it was acceptable to drive mopeds around the U.S. without looking like a dork because I would purchase a moped in a heartbeat!
And there you have it! My trip to Korea in 4 posts. I’m hoping these pasts few posts have inspired you to travel and expand your horizons. I’m constantly filled with wanderlust and seeking for my next adventure. Take every chance you get because you never know what wonderful experiences you can gain. It’ll be a while until I have my next big adventure, but I’ll be patiently awaiting for that moment to arrive. Happy Easter weekend everyone, and speak to you soon!