Saturday 6 – Sunday 7 April, 2019
Pre-cycling Days / Seoul
Welcome to our South Korean cycling adventure! This is the third time we are visiting the country. We love the culture, people and food, but one of the things we love the most is the amazing cycling infrastructure. We have previously cycle Seoul to Busan and Jeju Island. This time we plan to cycle the East Coast between Busan and the DMZ Unification Observatory. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Thanks for joining us!
We spend the first few days in Seoul re-familiarising ourselves with the culture and eating lots of Korean food. Despite it already being Spring, the weather is still quite chilly so we spend much of our first day indoors at Coex, a giant shopping mall that has a super cool book store.
We then wander down to Gangnam to meet up with are our Aussie Korean mate Jimmy and his friend Martin for Chicago Pizza. Jimmy tries to convince us to go bungee jumping with him tomorrow but you couldn’t pay me enough to ever jump off a bridge with elastic bands strapped to my legs.
We are staying with our friend Junsik for a few days who lives in a nice neighbourhood with mountains in the backdrop. There is a great food market nearby which we frequented on our last visit. Cheye and I want to wander by to get some street food for dinner, but Junsik decides to take us to a nice place out of the cold.
The following day turns out to be gorgeous and we make our way to Nakseongdae Park where there are plenty of families and hikers around.
Old Korean people love to hike and their hiking outfits are next level! Junsik tells us that some of them even carry a set of Nordic walking sticks for fashion rather than function.
We also visit the shrine where people go to pray before heading to lunch.
Junsik takes us to a traditional self-serve eatery where you can plate your own rice, vegetables, kimchi, noodles and soup for 5,000 won. You also get a plate of grilled fish but as we’re vegetarian the lady gives us a corn salad instead.
The food is delicious and the noodles are my favourite: it’s a small bowl of simple white noodles, with some steaming hot broth, chilli paste and seaweed. It’s so simple but one of the nicest things I’ve eaten in a while.
One of the great things about Korean cuisine is the bottomless ban chan that gets served with your meal. The food is so good we all go back for seconds… we all then have to sit there for a bit before heading off as we all have food coma.
We wander back into the crisp air to walk off the food we’ve just eaten, and Junsik says he needs a coffee so we head to a nearby coffee shop. All the tables appear full but the waitress tells us there are more tables in the spare room at the back of the shop. We head back there and I swear the room looks like a steam room that’s been renovated.
It’s a small box with a seating ledge on either side, all tiled and just the right dimensions for a steam room. The doorway is so low that I knock my head as I enter, even though there’s a sign telling you to watch your head.
We order some hot drinks and spend the next few hours chatting about everything from Korea, Australia, culture, work and politics. Before we know it, it’s nearly dinner time and we make our way back home. Junsik gets a few things from the market to make dinner while Cheye gets ready to head out for the night with Jimmy and friends. A bunch of them end up at a Chicken and Beer joint in Gangnam while I stay in, still exhausted from the lack of sleep from the flight, so I end up getting my stuff ready for the start of our cycling adventures tomorrow.