On our last night in Busan, I slept soundly even if my roommate claimed that our room was haunted. Ghosts and other paranormal entities were the least of my concern because I have a bigger and more sinister problem to face in the days to come - winter.
The following morning, we took a cab from our hotel to Nopo station since we still have lots of Korean Wons to burn (LOL), and from there, we rode a bus to Seoul. On our way to the station, we had a pleasant surprise. The snow was gently falling, and it was our first time to experience it! I can still vividly remember how I felt at that particular moment. The first five minutes was surreal and magical. Moments later, we hurriedly went inside the bus terminal and sought refuge from the biting cold.
Seoul is four hours away from Busan by bus, and the ticket costs KRW 23,000 per person. The capital city is also accessible by train, the same train featured in the blockbuster movie Train to Busan. It's more expensive, but travel time is cut shorter by two hours.
|Outside Nopo Station|
As I gazed outside the window, there were only two colors that stood out - blue and white. The sky was clear and blue, and the surrounding landscapes were covered with thick snow. I have never seen so much snow in my entire life, and I'm starting to regret it.
Four hours later, we alighted at the bus station and rode an MRT to Hongkik Station. From there, we walked for another half a mile to our guesthouse. Unexpectedly, we got lost. It's not that we're poor in directions. The cold was just so intense that it slowed down our judgment and our sense of direction. While trying to figure out the right alley of our guesthouse, a kind, beautiful ulzzang helped us in finding the right way. She even accompanied us to the right street! How thoughtful.
|A wild ulzzang appeared... and helped us!|
We toured around the neighborhood after we checked in at UWA Guesthouse (by the way, it's one of the fanciest places to stay in Seoul). Seoul reminded me of Tokyo. The mass transportation system is very efficient, the streets are relatively clean, and there are several parks in our block.
|Sunset at downtown Seoul.|
Because we were hungry af, we looked for a decent place to eat. After ten minutes of walking, we finally found the restaurant recommended by one of our guesthouse's staffs. The problem was, they don't have an English menu. Everything was written in Hangeul, and the only Korean phrase I know was bae go pah (I am hungry). What a useful phrase. It felt awkward since we were the only foreigners inside. But hey, that didn't stop us from enjoying Korean food! Nomnom.
Hongkik University is one of the few prominent schools in Seoul. That's why, there are several shops, stores, malls, and restaurants around the district.
|Typical Korean meal.|
As day turned to night, it got even colder. Walking around the city at -12 degrees (with a real feel of -19 degrees) was a bad idea. It was so cold that it literally punched my bones. Well, that didn't stop us exploring N Seoul Tower since we wanted to see Seoul from a different perspective. We originally planned to take a bus to the tower, but we got lost again. So, we took the last resort of riding a cab. The lady cab driver (this time, an ahjumma) thought we would take the cable car to the tower. We replied a resonating noooooooo. Ahjumma kept on insisting us that we should take a cable car. While driving, she kept on grumbling in Korean. I bet the literal translation of her ramblings was: Ah shit man, don't English me, I'm panic! L O L.
Fast forward, we ended up riding a cable car to the tower.
|Heart and Seoul.|
Namsan Tower or N Seoul Tower is a communication tower located in central Seoul. At 236 meters, it marks the highest point of the city. There are shops and restaurants at the ground floor, and guests can enjoy the view of the whole city. I highly recommend of visiting this landmark at night.
I never thought I'd survive this day. My right leg hurt so bad that I needed assistance while walking. Agony, my dear friend, was an understatement. But hey, all those pain and the time lost because of our poor sense of direction brought about by the frigid Korean winter was so damn worth it.