SEOUL But Not Alone
We joined Erin's sister Aubrey, an American expat and Seoul expert for a week of working, shopping, eating and exploring South Korea's capital. Since Aubrey knows Seoul best, we left the planning to her and in a complete change of pace, we didn't make an itinerary.
While we spent the days working remotely, in the evenings we met up with Aubrey and her friends for Korean barbecue, delicious stir fried rice dumplings, and seafood pancakes, spicy soups and lots of banchan (Korean side dishes).
Erin went on a self-created scavenger hunt for all of the hardest to find Korean skincare and beauty brands, and we explored all the coolest street-style boutiques and high end shopping areas while Aubrey taught in the evenings.
We hit Bonguensa Temple, one of our favorite spots from our first trip to Korea and partial inspiration for Dave's tattoo, and took in the contrast of the thousand year old temple set against the ultramodern Seoul skyline.
One morning, we rented bikes and rode along the river in our masks (due to the air pollution blown over from China), stopping to play on the interesting pieces of work out equipment dotted along the riverside path.
On the weekend, we did a strenuous hike up Bukhansan mountain, together with lots of senior citizens who seemed to make up the majority of hikers. When we got up above the treeline to the shear rock face, we had to use ropes and footholds to make it up to the steepest parts of the rock. Usually brave Aubrey was freaking out a bit due to the ledges and grabbed on a random person's leg while begging Dave for help, though Dave was more focused on "protecting his wife". We reached the summit and took in the epics views of the sprawl of Seoul and we sat out on the rock with the locals who ate packed picnics - a few people even brought their pets, including cats, to hang out and take in the views.
Our legs were shaking as we hiked down the mountain. As we reached the bottom, we found a tented restaurant, where we feasted on seafood pajeon (veggie pancake), bibimbap and giant beers. We finished off our trip with more barbecue and shopping, and jetted out to Tokyo to meet up with the Brauns for a ten-day adventure in Japan.
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