Talk about spontaneous! On Tuesday 31st October we talked with my brother that he might visit and then he arrived in Seoul two days later.
On one week we had time to do many different things, here are some of the things we did:
- We went to many different cafés. We went to a super cosy cat café [insert emoji with heart eyes here], which was near Hongik University station. We went also to a Sherlock Holmes themed café in Gangnam.
- We ate – a lot. For me it was important that he could try different Korean dishes like kimbap (maki-ish dish), bibimap (a bowl of rice, vegetables, sauces and eggs), Korean barbeque and different Korean desserts. And we did all of these! Also had jajangmyeon (black noodles), mandu’s (dumplings) and burgers at Shake Shack (which is not Asian but still not available back home).
- We did some sightseeing: saw the Namsan tower where we wrote post cards for our family, visited the Gyeongbokgung palace and the Samsung D’light. All of them very nice.
- We also tried to see the water rainbow show at Banpo bridge but realised when we were there that the shows end in October… But we still had a nice time and looked over Han River and talked about life.
- And the Digital Media City gallery was closed by the time we got there. Not much time to double check the information when you have only two days to prepare, haha.
- We did a lot of walking around. Walked around my campus and the area close to KHU, walked around Gangnam and walked down from the hill that the N tower is on. For me walking around gives a great impression of what the city is like. We also went to Seoul forest, where there are beautiful colours and we found a pleasant surprise that they have deer there.
- A problem we had was to find a place where they serve wine. In a new place it was quite difficult. And ordering sparkling wine is a lie*; if you order sparkling wine you get a 5 % drink that tastes something like juice and is not even that bubbly. All we could do was to laugh at our bad luck.
*Yes, I understand there are cultural differences but I am used to something else.
- We also did some shopping: visited the Coex mall and walked around the traditional shops in Insadong.
- We visited the Seoul Lantern Festival that started when he when he was here.
- Other experiences we did was to sing karaoke in a room that fits only two persons and trying some games in a game plaza.
It felt good to have my brother visiting and I am thankful that he travelled all the way to South Korea from Sweden to see me. “I guess if you would not be here I would not have come to Seoul”, he said. Maybe Seoul is not on the first place on the list when you think about where you should go on your vacation. But I definitely recommend Seoul and South Korea to everyone!
When he was here we could do some catching up and I could show him what I have been experiencing here, such as my favourite café and introduce him to some of the people I am hanging out with. Nice to be able to be yourself without being judged – for some funny pictures check Instagram.
It was also refreshing to be with someone who saw the city for the first time. I have been here 11 weeks I have gotten used to many things, such as the cute short jingles in the subway or the cluster of all of the overhead cables in the streets.
When he left I felt a bit sad, especially since I might not come back for Christmas. But at least I have a lot of Finnish – and Swedish – chocolate that he gave me as a souvenir.
Now I just have to wait for my next visitor, who comes already tomorrow!