Monday, March 28, 2005

Traditional Haven

Sunday was a great addition to the long Saturday that I had. I had arranged earlier in the week to meet with one of the Korean teachers, Sophia, on Sunday to go to Insadong (another part of Seoul). I thought that it would be cool to hang out with her, particularly in a place in the city that is known for it's traditional arts and ceramics. I just thought that who better to show me traditional Korean stuff...than a Korean! It was really good. It ended up being a bigger group that I had expected with Me, Sophia, Rob, Erin, Matt, and Sarah (from my school). We all went to a traditional Korean restaurant. SO COOL! Erin's got the pictures so I'll have to wait to show you all, but the decor alone was incredible. Rice paper walls, with bamboo used almost like waynes coating (any trading spaces fans?). Anyway, there were a lot of antique looking things there, it was really cool. We sat on the floor (as you do in many Korean restaurants) and ate some good food.

Afterward, we walked around and looked in the shops and passed by some traditional Korean performances. We didn't stop to see any because we weren't really in that sorta mood. Plus, I figure, I'm here for a whole year, I can go back and see it anytime. There were people on the street making all sorts of traditional foods. We ended up trying this sort of hard toffee that is made with sugar by this one man who continually smoked a cigarette while he made it. It looked like he had a paint brush and some sugar in a small metal dish over heat (no, he wasn't making crack...but he could have been!). You could pick the shapes that you wanted imprinted into it. It was pretty good too. It tasted something like burnt marshmallows and the middle of a Crunchie chocolate bar.

We ended our day by going to a Korean tea house. They have some real interesting teas there. Matt ordered what I thought was the best tea. It's called Five Taste Tea and basically it's really sweet, almost fruity, tea. I would definitely get that one next time. I had pear tea boiled in honey. It was really ginger-y, but I liked it. Erin had a plum tea that was also really good. I didn't expect them to be so sweet, but you don't add anything to them, you just drink them as they come. Again, like the restaurant, this tea house had the greatest atmosphere. It's like you're in a hole in the wall, like something out of a movie...only, it's my real life. There is one tea house that Matt has been talking about with antiques everywhere and birds flying all over the place. I haven't been yet, but we all plan to go sometime soon. It's also in Insadong.

Insadong is a really cool place. The type of place that you'd by 'real' Korean gifts for people or just pick up some pretty unique things there. I'll definitely go back, it's only about 25 minutes by subway from my apartment, so it' s super easy to get to.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures below. There are some of my walk to the Buddhist temple and Fortress Wall, and also some of the Saodaemun Prison that we visited on Saturday. I have more, but I have only posted some of the good ones so far.

Miss you lots!

Love Andrea


Blogger Mom said...

Andrea I am getting excited about my visit to South Korea. Keep exploring...I expect that you will be my personal tour guide. These place sound fabulous!!

10:34 AM  

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