hyochang park

7

The Seoul Trip : Han River and Hyochang Park

Day 3

Waking up on day 3 brought my attention to the wonders my futon-style bed in the loft space of our officetel was working on my back. I’d honestly highly recommend it to anyone!
The previous evening we’d come up with the small plan of “hit up Yongsan park and the National Museum (which lies within)”, and so with that idea in mind, we dragged our butts out of the door after a small bout of morning television (seeing your favourite shows LIVE is so much better than having to go through the stress of streaming or downloading through the internet!) and began to head down the road on foot in the hopes of reaching our intended destination.

Every single time we step out the front door of our building i’m hit by just how warm, calm, and, simply beautiful, this city is. Despite the cars that speed by on the roads beside us, the bartering ahjummas and ahjusshis trying to sell the wares at their stalls, and the office workers all clambering into the same restaurant/cafe as they animatedly talk away to one another, you can’t help but appreciate the sense of community spirit that emanates from every crevice of the place. Even when we accidentally ended up stumbling across one of the main army camps which sits across from the Military Museum, rather than a sense of intimidation from the barb wire fences, the high steel walls disguised by lush green vines and the vast number of Military personnel and vehicles, you gain more of a sense of determination and hard-work from the people that walk by in neatly ironed khaki uniforms.
However, moving on, first impressions of the sheer architectural beauty and well-kept grounds of the military museum definitely distracted us from the fact that we may have taken a different path to the one we’d originally planned. The ‘dome of the two brothers’ which stands upon the central path to the main building initiates the tone of the site as it explains (in both Hangul and English) the story behind the statue: a re-enactment of the moment a south Korean and north Korean soldier embraced on the battlefield. Its very much a sense of hope for the future that clings to the museum and its grounds, one that is reinstated with each monument, statue, and display, you pass, each providing more information on the Korean war and its tragedies, as well as its contributors; a large plazza which stands as the base before the entrance to the museum building itself, houses a display of flags that line the outside of the space, each flag having a plaque at its base providing information on the contribution of each UN country it represents. Around the outside of the museum is also a huge exhibition of war ships and planes which are accessible to the public, allowing the ability to become more involved with the history that each display was a part of, and to the rear of the main museum is a children’s museum, where there is the chance for young children to dress up and role play as each of the different roles which the war accommodated for. Despite some people’s initial reaction to topics of war and such, i honestly think the museum is a really wonderful place to go and experience the true Korean perspective of such an important part of their history.

Moving on from the museum, we decided to continue heading up the road we’d originally been on, still with the vain hope of catching sight of a large expanse of green which could potentially be a park- although the second we catch sight of the large archway above the road which read ‘Itaewon’, you can probably guess we made the realization that we’d gone too far. (We were overdue to make a wrong turn somewhere.) xD
However, rather than calling it a ‘mistake’, the wrong turn actually ended up being a rather fortunate turn of events, as, after a brief pit stop at a convenience store for a top up on banana milk (it really never gets old!), we ended up stumbling upon the Banpo bridge that crossed the Han River.  Of course, we ended up making a huge tourist mistake by deciding to actually walk Banpo bridge (which in itself took about 15-20), about 5 minutes in observing that no-one else was walking the road, and realizing we should have taken the metro or caught a bus xD However, it was all worth it once we were on the opposite side of the bridge and were able to sit down to eat lunch and enjoy the scenic views of such an iconic river.
For myself, the Han river was a huge part of visiting Seoul; being one of the main symbols of the city, the River had been part of my mental image of Seoul for so long (particularly with my love for Tablo, and his lyrics in the song ‘Hood ft Joey Badass’), and so to see it in person was an almost overwhelming experience, one which also allowed me to cross one of my dreams off my bucket list ^^ 

Following this, was the (I estimate) 13km treck to Mapo Bridge. I will put it out there, this walk was definitely all by choice, and allowed us to enjoy the Han river in its full beauty, as well as experience the various sights to see along its banks. However, after testing out the multiple collections of exercise equipment along the way (with which we provided all the watching ahjummas/ahjusshis with much amusement), and passing many a group of passionate cyclists and fishermen, we were very relieved to finally stumble upon ‘Yeouido Hangang park’, one of the most popular places to picnic by the river that a lot of people will recognize from dramas and television shows. Living up to its reputation, we arrived just as the influx of after-work/school people were filling into the area, and so as we rested on one of the benches scattered around the walkways, we couldn’t help but enjoy the sheer amount of fried chicken, pizza’s and various takeouts that were being delivered to each picnic blanket, as well as the small ahjumma that was selling some sort of snack from a large plastic tub- who was all laughs and smiles when she came to sit beside us. As much as we wanted to stay there for the evening and enjoy the atmosphere of relaxation, with how much our legs were hurting from our hike, we decided to leave the fun and games for another day, and slowly made our way back home.
If you couldn’t already tell…we never did make it to Yongsan park or the National Museum xD

(Top Tip No.3: Take a moment to absorb everything! I know I, for one, am guilty of trying to rush things when i get excited; wanting to see and do everything all at once! But i urge anyone who travels to this country (or anywhere as beautiful as it) to pause and allow yourself a few seconds to just take it all in. As much as there may be time later, you should always try to live in the moment, and appreciate the NOW!) :) 

Day 4

Today was a…slow day. 
Given that we’d been in Seoul for at least 3 days by this point, it still hadn’t really sunk in that we were in the city of our dreams, and so with jet lag still very much trying to weigh our brains down, we decided to take a day off from exploring (given that we still have plenty more time to see everything) and we spent the majority of the morning and afternoon in bed to rejuvenate, and to appreciate the lifestyle of an officetel. With only a brief jaunt to the store downstairs to grab more essentials and some lunch, it was almost 4pm by the time we made it outside once more, and were hit with the heat from the day- 28′C for a British person is pretty much peak summer!
Given that we wanted to take the day slow, we simply headed for our nearest park (Hyochang), allowing us to explore our local area a little more.
Now, one thing is for sure; Seoul parks are 100% superior to English parks. 
Immediately at the entrance we were greeted by a beautiful traditional archway, the structure, once we’d walked through, appearing to enclose the ‘warm’ wonderland delights that hid behind it; exotic plant gardens being tended by the local community group of Ahjumma’s in green visors and brightly printed leggings, memorials for deceased local soldiers that fought for their country interspersed with monuments commemorating hardships that had been overcome, beautiful flower gardens with traditional-wooden benches, which in themselves are intermingled with pathways down which highschool students sprint as they complete their daily miles, and an abundance of outdoor exercise gyms where all the ahjusshi’s (as well as a few younger folk) are maintaining their physiques. Its only as you begin to explore the area a little more that you become aware of the couples and the families interspersed on the tables throughout the area, the children’s play equipment, and the majesty of the authentic gazebos which stand beside aesthetic book swap cases that announce the spirit of ease, and friendliness of the area, eliminating any lingering feelings of potential danger that a foreign place holds to many new travelers (me). 
Its one of those places that you could sit in all day without growing weary or bored, the sense of calm and tranquility simply allowing you to enjoy a lifestyle and a culture that professes love, friendship, and community, from its every aspect. I honestly could have watched the people wandering through the gardens all day from our love-heart shaped swing seat. However, after a gentle jaunt through the remainder of the gardens we slowly made our way home once more, deciding to spend the remainder of our lazy day in the comfort of our pajamas, delicious food, and series 2 of Versailles xD
With the knowledge of our activities for the next few days, we thought it better to rest up as much as we could…;)

(P.S. I have fallen so head over heels in love with this city that this update is a little late! However, with a little time to spare right now, i will quickly write out the next post, and catch you all up on our adventures!) ;)

- Mo admin x -

Cold Skin

Namjoon X Reader

Genre - Fluff

HAPPY NEW YEAR <3

Originally posted by taestylips


“Can we go for a walk?” His voice seemed like a mumble over the phone as he spoke to you.

“It’s cold though, Joonie.” You whined, sighing into the phone as you grabbed your bright yellow coat, you knew you weren’t going to win this fight. You never did with him.

“I can hear you putting your coat on.” He chuckled, his steady breaths mixing in with the bad signal, “I’ll meet you at Hyochang Park?” Namjoon asked, his voice seemed warm and welcoming every time he spoke.

“You’re lucky I love you.” You sighed, putting on your converse, ending the call as you walked out of the door. The contrast between your warm, cozy home, to the skin tingling coldness of outside was a lot to take in. How could someone go out to a park in this weather?


You walked through the opening gates of the park, your hands buried into the warm pockets of your coat, half of your face covered with a mask and scarf. You were still cold.

“Y/N!” A deep, croaky voice shouted from behind you. a smile tugged at your lips as you turned around. Namjoon ran towards you, shouting your name to catch your attention.

“How did you spot me from all that way away?” You laugh, wrapping your arms around his neck, hugging him tightly, your nose nuzzling into his neck. He hugged back, trying to catch his breath.

“I know that coat from anywhere.” he smirked, “So, shall we walk?” He chuckled, beckoning for you to follow him.

“So what is all this about, waking me up at 11pm to go for a walk?” You raised an eyebrow.

“I couldn’t sleep-”

“And that makes it okay to wake me up?”

“No, but-”

“But?”

“If you let me finish then i’ll tell you my reason.” He sighed, a smile tugging at his lips.

“Well?” You grinned, crossing you arms over your chest impatiently. Namjoon bit his lip, looking around to find a distraction,

“Oh look a bird-”

“Joonie, what are you trying to say..?” You glance up at him, he looks beautiful, his dark green hair seemed soft and delicate, those dark brown specs glimmered under the moon, his lips were dry, yet they looked so plump and delicious.

He bit the inside of his cheek anxiously, walking beside you, you nudged him, starting to grow more impatient at the silence. The back of his hand pressed against yours. His eyes widened, you raised your eyebrows at his sudden reaction, “What?”

“Y/N your hands are so fucking cold” He gasped, grabbing your hands, with his, squeezing them.

“And?” You laughed, shaking your head at his shocked expression to you being cold.

He laced his fingers in between yours, squeezing them tightly as he could, his hands were so warm, so large compared to yours, you wanted to stay in this position forever, but you were starting to feel sweaty so you pulled away, rubbing your palms against your jeans, impatiently trying to get rid of it.

“Come here.” He laughed, embracing you into a hug. You smiled, pressing your head against his chest, not wanting to separate.

You pulled away, flustered

“Namjoon?”

“Y/N?” You both said each others name at the same time, you paused for a moment, letting him speak, “You can go first.” You nodded in reassurance.

“I like you.” He blurted out, his voice quiet and shy, “I’ve liked you for so long, that it got to the point where i couldn’t sleep at night because all i could think about was you, that’s why I brought you here, to tell you.” He frowned, turning to face you, his hands intertwining with yours.

“Namjoon…I-” You started off, you were more than shocked, you were going to tell him you liked him too.

“I get it if you don’t like me.” He looked at down at the bath, his grip loosening.

“No, I like you too. I like you a lot. I’ve just never really had the confidence to say it…” Your cheeks flushed at you pressed your finger against his chin, lifting his head up.

“Namjoon, I love you.” You mumbled into his chest, lifting your head up. He smiled sheepishly, his pearly whites exposing themselves. Namjoon bent down his face gradually getting closer to yours, “Ive always wondered what your lips against mine would feel like.” he whispered, his lips connecting with yours.

The milder together, the warm mixture skin and cherry lip balm taking over your taste buds. You kissed back happily, your hands squeezing his in between the both of you.

“Happy New Year, Beautiful.” He chuckled, his hand travelling down to your behind.

“Watch it..” You growled, biting onto his bottom lip gently. He rolled his eyes, pressing his lips against yours once more.

“There…” He mumbled, pressing his lips ontop of your head, “You’re warmer now..”

Published - HAPPY NEW YEAR <3

8

The Seoul Trip : The Beginning

Day 1

So,…to begin with, 16 hours on a plane (with a 3 hour layover in Dubai) is not as fun as one might have first thought - there’s only so many travel escalators you can ride before it isn’t fun anymore!
However, despite all my preconceived misconceptions about them, in-flight meals really aren’t that bad! And being able to play an endless amount of rounds of Tetris and Connect definitely helps to pass the time. But, needless to say, the minute we began the descent into Incheon airport, any tiredness that had began to pull at our bodies, in response to the 24+ hours of being awake, immediately vanished upon looking out of the window and seeing our home for the next almost 3 weeks: Seoul!
There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing the reality of a dream you’d been dreaming for 3+ years. Yet, the second we sat on the KTX to make our way to our airb’n’b, and we began to see the landscape of South Korea fly past us outside, we ended up sitting in near silence in our astonishment that we’d actually just flown half way across the world to temporary live a life that had always seemed so out of reach. Stepping off of the metro and emerging from Hyochang park station onto the street was even more overwhelming.

Now, if you ever find yourself making the dream trip to South Korea, and you find you get anxiety about not knowing where to go, how to get places, how to speak to people, etc, etc… DONT
‘Cause let me tell you, we were stood pondering our screenshot of google maps looking like your standard confused foreigners at the exit to the station for all of 3 minutes, before a woman (and her adorable dog) approached us, and asked in English (bless her soul) if we needed help getting somewhere! From there it took us around 10 minutes of walking before we rocked up at our officetel, completely haggard and with our clothes sticking to us where we’d been wearing them for so long. Then, almost immediately, we had to venture to the nearest convenience store to grab water and food, which despite our initial shyness was a walk in the park with how tired we were. And even though we hadn’t even begun to think about the language barrier in those kind of situations, the cashier looked just as done for the day as we were, and therefore purchasing our water and ramyeon went by with a simple ‘kamsamnida’, before we made our way back to our little home away from home, only just making it through the door before collapsing.

Day 2

The Exploring begins! Or rather, Jet-lag got us, and we only managed to leave the house at around 3:30pm xD
However, once we were dressed presentably and had woken up enough to deduce that we needed to eat food at least once a day to not starve, we rode down from our 18th floor apartment, and made our way to Samgakji station in the direct of Itaewon, by suggestion of a friend. All I’m going to say; two Caucasian, blonde, foreigners, stand out a little in the residential neighborhood - although, in no-way was it in a bad sense!
For anyone wondering what the Seoul metro is like, I’d consider it similar in efficiency to the London tube - it’s definitely a lot cleaner and much less cramped (so far!). We’d already bought our T-money cards the day before (in true koreaboo fashion they have Line© friends on them) so buzzing in and out of the metro was/is almost too easy, and when we emerged already completely overwhelmed in Itaewon we couldn’t wait to see what would greet us. Let me tell you now, it was the greatest feeling to see it with my own eyes, and have confirmed that it was everything i’d thought and dreamed it would be.

Although it was raining, the coloured roads and the enthusiastic business promotions shone as brightly as if the sun was shining, and the smells of gochujang, bbq, and pizza made our mouths water with every restaurant we passed. Despite Ju’s enthusiasm to find food immediately, after she put me on chief duty to find a place to eat, we ended up walking round for a while (2 hours!*), taking in the sight of each street and surveying the area; pretty much immersing ourselves in being here, before we ended up deciding to venture into a ‘foreign food store’ on the search for some teabags - which any British person will know, is an essential part of living, especially in the case of Ju, who, fyi, makes the best cup of tea in the world!
After grabbing the essentials, it was finally an acceptable time to eat, since we’d arrived at Itaewon between mealtimes, and so we headed towards what looked like a full on ‘foodie street’, and proceeded to do the traditional foreigner thing of heading into the first obviously Korean restaurant we saw. 

For all of you suffering from Wanderlust, but too scared to make the trip to Korea - or even to anywhere that speaks a different language - top tip number 1 would be; a language barrier is only a barrier when you see it as one.
Now, I’m not going to say I wasn’t scared shitless upon entering a restaurant in a foreign country for the first time, because lets be honest, I was crapping myself, but all you have to remember is businesses are just glad to have business (it keeps people fed and with roofs over their heads). So, the second I climb the stairs to the 1st floor restaurant and I catch the eye of the waitresses sat chatting in the corner of the empty room, I’m immediately ready to turn back. However, the second they see two people with hunger in their eyes, and who were obviously foreign, they waste no time in gesturing us in and after we greeted one another and asked for a table, they showed us politely in, providing us with water and menus immediately.
Given that we were hungry, it didn’t take us long to order a serving of bibimbap and Kimchi stew, and within 10 minutes? it was steaming away in front of us, accompanied by a couple of side dishes and a kind smile. Now, i don’t know about anyone else, but from the first minute i learned about the incredible taste of Korean food, i immediately began experimenting with recipes and ingredients in an attempt to create the same taste back in England…However, none of my culinary escapades had ever prepared me for the taste of genuine Korean kimchi stew. It was the BEST first meal I could have hoped for! Afterwards we had to sit for around 20 minutes just to digest the food - although it also gave us time to take in the view of the aesthetic green roofs and the beautiful decor of Itaewon.
Of course, as it was our first meal, we then had to go through the awkwardness of trying to call for the bill, which after looking up the translation so that my faulty memory filled with various Korean phrases didn’t offend anyone, simply involved politely gesturing to a waitress who showed me to the counter, before we were thanking the employees and were on our way. (Top Tip number 2: I’d like to remind anyone who plans on visiting South Korea and gets as overwhelmed as I do, that when you hand over money at the till (or just when you’re handling things in general), get that goddamn spare hand on your forearm! Manners Maketh Man, people!)
Other than visiting the convenience store once again to grab some foods for the evening, including the essentials (banana milk, HELLO! O.O), and watching dramas, music shows, and ‘Return of superman’  (*and edit a video) for the rest of the evening to try and scrap jet-lag for good, that’s pretty much all for our journey so far.

 We have so much planned for this journey, but we also want to use it as a chance to experience properly living in the country, so there will be times when it seems like we’re cramming everything into one day, and times when it will appear as though we’ve done absolute nothing, but to be honest, that sounds like the perfect plan to us! 
So, for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little (jokes) summary of our past 48 hours, and I’ll catch you up with more of our adventure in Seoul in the next blog post! ^^
If you have any questions about anything to do with travelling to Seoul and being here in itself; communication, booking things, culture, experience, ANYTHING, just hit up our ask box, and we’ll be more than glad to give you as much of an answer as we are able! :) 

Ciao! ;)

- Admin Mo x -

*Ju’s notes