More Fun from Seoul

I finally had a chance to go through all my non-gnome photos from our Seoul trip. We sure saw a lot for being in a gallery for most of the week!

OK, I have one gnome photo—this guy snuck into my luggage and couldn’t wait to get some fresh air and see a city on the other side of the world.

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The area we were staying in is called Songpa, which is most famous for Lotte World, a big amusement park with both indoor and outdoor attractions. We didn’t get a chance to visit, but every morning we took a walk around a nearby lake, the middle of which is occupied by an island of Lotte World.

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Also nearby was the new Lotte World Tower, which is a giant skyscraper that’s currently under construction. When it’s finished, it’s going to be 123 floors and 556 meters tall. We got dizzy just looking at it!

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There was quite a bit of contsruction all around the tower, and one cool thing we noticed on our first morning in the city was this robot construction worker. His job was just to wave his arm and get drivers to slow down so that it’s safer for the real construction workers. This is one job that I’m happy to see a robot doing.

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Because of jet lag, we were waking up early each morning, and it was only toward the end of our visit that we managed to stay up late enough to see what the neighborhood looked like at night. It really came alive with lots of bars and tiny restaurants.

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Dotting the bigger streets were these illuminated lanterns, which we were told were in celebration of Buddha’s birthday, which was commemorated while we were in town.

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One of my favorite things about Seoul was the way that cute characters were EVERYWHERE.

Sticky Monster Lab characters were doing a promotion for Smoothy King (I also got a smaller toy version of this “Berry Mon” monster.)

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The Lotte World Mall (yes, at times it seemed like Lotte owned everything in Seoul) had this helmeted penguin all over the place in different adorable poses.

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We saw characters selling kiwi fruit,

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and popcorn,

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and even massages! (You’re supposed to lean against these softies and let their robot arms do the work.)

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We came across the Line Friends brand in Gangnam, which features this adorable bear.

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Sweater wearing bears!

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I don’t quite know what these guys were all about, but they were outside of the Line Friends store and I kinda loved them.

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Here’s something I’d never seen before—face peel masks that make you look like various animals. I bought all five.

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Characters were also on the street—these guys were also hanging out in Gangnam.

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One evening our host, Diny, invited John and me to an opening at a gallery called Fifty Fifty featuring some very cool work from Korean artists Muung and Varietysum.

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I always love getting a peek at artist sketches.

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Maybe it’s hard to tell from the photo, but this piece below by Muunng is entirely hand embroidered!

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One of the most fascinating things about Seoul was how in certain neighborhoods (including Songpa), there were cafes all over the place. Seriously, you could see six cafes to a block on some streets! I have no idea who was drinking all the coffee. With all this competition, many of the cafes had unique themes to set them apart from the rest.

We didn’t go inside the main part of this very tall macaron cafe, but I did have some of their macarons, and they were excellent.

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We couldn’t resist this cafe, which specialized in crepes, ice cream sandwiches, Disney dolls still in their packaging, colorful lights, tin circus toys…

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…and also music videos playing silently on one wall. (The crepes were excellent.)

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Then, we absolutely couldn’t miss seeing our first cat cafe in person. I wouldn’t say it’s a place I’d like to hang out in for drinks and snacks (it smelled just a little bit too much like a veterinarian’s office for that), but the cats were adorable and actually pretty sweet and playful. This cat was really into the big wheel.

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We didn’t have any cat treats with us, though, so our cat companion mostly ignored my advances.

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Of course, they have Starbucks in Seoul too, and they stood out by having inexplicably strange English on their moist towelette packaging.

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Lastly, I got myself a new pair of shoes.

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That was just a fraction of all my photos from the trip, but I probably shouldn’t spend all day blogging about it. Seoul was just fascinating, and I know there was so much more to experience that we didn’t get around to. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to return before too long!

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6 thoughts on “More Fun from Seoul

  1. Love seeing all your pictures of Seoul! So fun!
    Rhys and I were taken with them all but especially the giant bear and the cat cafe!
    So the cats live at the cafe? Or people bring cats with them? And the pic of the cat opposite you was priceless, reminded me of past dates. ;)

  2. An amazing Travelogue! Thanks for sharing the weirdest, most wonderful sights that South Korea offers. It’s hard to believe that these people share the island with those enduring the grayest, most inhumane and repressive government on earth.

  3. Joan, the cats do seem to live at the cafe—there’s a “behind the scenes” area that they could go in. We were trying to figure out how many cats there were, and we decided it was at least 30! But they didn’t seem too crammed together or unhappy. They were all different kinds of cats, and all different ages.

    Dad, I don’t know about volcanoes. They also had shoes with beetles on them, which I was tempted by, but the combo of volcanoes and pink was irresistible to me. I think it was more about fashion than about geography.

    Mom, I totally had a dream last night that I was visiting North Korea! It wasn’t so bad, but probably that’s because I was in Pyongyang.

  4. Thank you for sharing these photos of your time in Seoul! I can’t pick a favorite, but I do keep thinking about all the embroidery involved in that piece.

  5. Thank you for sharing your amazing trip and photos. I feel like I was there now too. Such a creative, inspiring and thoughtful journey.

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