Long Weekend in Korea Part One

It's a hot and sunny afternoon in Insadong, but I'm barely feeling the heat because of how elated I am at what I'm holding. 

A master calligrapher had just written the characters "Truth" and "Sincerity". He stamped his hand in the middle of the sheet of paper and wrote the symbol for "Power" right in the middle. He explained that Truth and Sincerity puts power in your hands. He looked at me and gave it to me as a present. Awesome sauce!

I wouldn't be on this trip had it not been for last February's Travel Expo by Citibank. I was picking through possible destinations and thought that Korea would be the best and most efficient place to go for the Aug 21-25 long weekend. I had already been to Japan and China, and Singapore is a given destination every September for Formula One. So I bought tickets for my sister and myself for Incheon.

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind of activity from the moment of arrival at Incheon airport up to this afternoon's tour of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the aforementioned encounter with the calligraphy master.

Day One started off with the rain pouring nonstop as soon as we got off the plane. It was 6am and it was really gloomy outside. After a rather long walk through the concourse and a train ride to the main terminal, we finally got our bags.  After getting a wifi dongle at the airport, we mistakenly hailed a taxi thinking it would be faster. 

Two hours after being stuck in Seoul morning rush hour traffic, we arrive at our magnificent hotel, the Ritz Carlton.  

 The massive Ritz Carlton Seoul hotel

The massive Ritz Carlton Seoul hotel

After a speedy (and very early) check in, I had breakfast at the buffet while my sister took a nap.  After gorging on smoked salmon and cold cuts, I decided to take a nap to recover from the 1am red eye flight and stupid traffic jam. 

We woke up a couple of hours after feeling much refreshed. We didn't really plan an itinerary so we went down to the concierge and asked for their help in booking tours and other things to do. They suggested watching a show called Nanta for the evening and we booked it. We also booked other tours for the other days but I'll talk about those in other posts.

After making the reservations, we still had plenty of time so we decided to go to Nansan Seoul Tower. It was a bit of a cab ride to get there, but it was definitely worth going to, even if it was a touristy thing to do. 

 The path goin up from the entrance

The path goin up from the entrance

 Graffiti outside the restroom area

Graffiti outside the restroom area

 The tower is HUGE

The tower is HUGE

 The view from the top. Look at the rainbow!

The view from the top. Look at the rainbow!

 This made me miss my friends

This made me miss my friends

On top of the tower there are restaurants, caf├ęs, and a massive candy store.

 A tiny portion of the candy store

A tiny portion of the candy store

There's also a post office where you can send a postcard to your loved ones. 

 Seoul's highest post office on top of N Tower

Seoul's highest post office on top of N Tower

At this point we totally lost track of time and we had to rush to our Nanta show. We ended up having to meet our guide at the venue.  

Unfortunately we couldn't take photos of the production but I can say that it was a pretty fun, slapstick version of Stomp mixed with some Hibachi action!

 The Stage for Nanta!

The Stage for Nanta!

After the delicious smells(!) in the performance we decided to eat. Our guide suggested restaurants, but my sister and I looked at the food stalls right outside the theater and decided we couldn't wait to eat. 

 Spicy Steamed Pork Knuckles

Spicy Steamed Pork Knuckles

 Dried  Grilled Octopus sauteed in butter

Dried  Grilled Octopus sauteed in butter

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 Dried Squid

Dried Squid

We ended the night with some shopping, and took a taxi home.  The next post will be about the next couple of days :) Stay tuned!