My last full day in Korea was spent mostly outdoors where I got a taste of what genuine snow really is. Not that ice sheet back at home. An early morning of the longest ride on the subway and a bus drive later, my boyfriend and I made it up north to visit Bukhansan National Park. It was a quiet start where we accidentally got off the bus too early so we had to walk a few blocks to the entrance. But the sun and chill air was just right. Neither my boyfriend and I had on the best of weather ready clothing but we weren't terrible cold. I guess it helps to have a special person to keep you warm during days like those =).
Before making an actual trek on the site, we had stopped to get food here at this convenience store. I instantly noticed how very unprepared we were to hike. All these elderly people were coming down from the park ready to eat a bowl of ramen from the store. Their cheeks were flushed red but they seemed to have just enough stamina to get themselves food. I learned quickly that Koreans love to hike - that's why they have several national parks around the country. We walked as far as we could before we knew that our little old city boots and shoes wouldn't get us up a high mountain peak. Instead we veered off into another direction that was just as nice if not more tranquil. My boyfriend trying to shield his eyes from the rising sun with just his thumb. Pots of jars below that store lots of kimchi??? This is the area where we walked towards where we got a great view of a mountain and a man reading his newspaper. What a great backdrop to have while you're reading! You can tell that we didn't have much experience with snow because our snowman was so pitiful. The weather was just bearable enough for people to paint in the snow and for a classic jumping photo. As soon as lunchtime arrived we headed back to the city towards Itaewon where we ate delicious meat at a Korean Chadol House. You have to have a great mix of cold and hot while you're here. The warm heat from the little grill and the scent of cooked meat is enough to make you feel relaxed from being out in the cold. After a late lunch, we had to wait a little while before heading towards Namsan Tower. We walked along the area where Itaewon has a lot of shopping, pubs, and cafes. It's neat little niche of intertwined roads and paths where locals, foreigners , and tourists come to a giant melting pot. Since the military base is nearby, many foreigners live in this area. There's only so much walking you can do before you have to just suck it up and sit waiting for the bus. There are specific buses that take you to the tower. You can't walk up there at all. I think it's a quintessential element about traveling where you must see the overall city overview at night. It just perfectly encompasses the entire experience. I was reminded of how incredible my 2013 experience was full of traveling and how I don't ever want that to end. Korea came to a close the next day with a 13 hour flight back to Dallas where I ended up living it up celebrating New Year's Day a second time.