Goodbye South Korea and Japan… I’m back!

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Yes, it’s a sad day for me… I’m back home. I usually don’t get this sad when a trip ends – sure, I would love to have more vacations and stay abroad longer, but usually by the time it’s time to come back, I’m ok with it. Not this time though. I’m super sad to be back, I needed at least one more week in Japan…

I love Seoul (South Korea), but I’m in love with Japan. Tokyo became one of my top 3 cities to live in, and is pretty much tied with New York in second place (yeah yeah, London in very much still 1st).

Things I loved in South Korea/Seoul:

  • Clean city, so so clean.
  • I never felt more secure in my life. Seriously, it’s the kind of place when you can leave your cell phone, purse and laptop at a table on a cafe and go to the bathroom, and nobody will touch your things.
  • Beautiful city and so much green.
  • People are nice (not some vendors, but I could live with that)
  • The coffee culture – you could find a nice Cafe and bakery in literally every corner. And the cakes, sweets and drinks were so freaking good!!!
  • Free Wi-Fi EVERYWHERE

 


Things I loved in Japan:

  • It’s GORGEOUS!
  • People are so polite and nice – seriously, I came back with a pain in my neck from so much bowing, because if someone bows to you, what do you do, right? And I got bowed to… a lot!!!! – I repeat: THEY ARE SUPER SUPER POLITE AND NICE! I never felt like smiling so much to people as I did in Japan.
  • They don’t speak much english, but they will try their best to understand you, and they will succeed. This is especially warming to me, because I always felt that people in some European countries (say, Spain, France,…) don’t exactly feel the need to try hard and you sometimes give up because the effort is not worth it. That didn’t happen once in Japan… each time I was faced with a vendor or taxi driver who didn’t speak the language, we still managed to communicate quite well and get what we needed.
  • Clean city – I didn’t encounter one dirty bathroom – and that’s saying a lot.
  • The toilets, I mean, you never really have to encounter a cold seat…

  • The sense of security, really, as much as in South Korea.
  • The culture. I will admit that the little I knew of Japan came from a lot of Sailor Moon and Rurouni Kenshin, but still, seeing the temples and understanding a bit of what everything comes from… I loved it.
  • The simplicity. Something has to be said about those temples, castles, palaces. While in Europe during the same period was all about ostenticity, Japanese palaces are nothing more than mostly empty rooms with gorgeous (and meaningful) panels on their walls.
  • I could live in Tokyo. I mean it, I could and it will seriously be on my mind once I’m done with my PhD. I like feeling accepted in a city, and I felt that in Tokyo. I liked that the geek culture (otaku) has a place on the city. I liked that restaurants and cafes have individual tables. I liked that there’s a lot of people but no one is on your way. These are the things that make me love London and New York too…
  • The freaking food!!!! Have you been following my Instagram or my previous posts? If you have, you know how much I’m in love with everything to eat in Japan…

So, I’m quite sad to be home already… I wish that I was still in Tokyo, exploring that amazing city. I was super happy that my blog didn’t suffer a bit from my absence, and I was able to post everyday (sometimes twice a day!) – hurray for scheduled posts!!!! The only downside was not being able to keep up with your posts, but I’ll make my way to them, don’t worry 😉 .

In the meantime, I did publish a few posts about my trip, if you want to check them out…

I FINALLY ARRIVED @ SEOUL!

WANDERING ABOUT: SEOUL 2015!

WANDERING ABOUT: KYOTO 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: OSAKA 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: KYOTO TO TOKYO 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: TOKYO (DAY 1) 2015

WANDERING ABOUT: TOKYO (DAY 2) 2015

 

Wandering About: Seoul 2015!

wandering about

HELLLOOOO!!!! From Seoul! Yes, I’m still in Seoul, though not for much longer – I’m leaving tomorrow to Kyoto, Japan. But I though that while I’m here, and I had a couple of hours (or I made sure I had them), that I would share with you some pictures and some thoughts about my trip.

On my first day out on town with friends, we wandered to the TrickEye Museum in Seoul, then to the Ice Museum – it was freaking cold – and to the Hello Kitty Cafe!

The TrickEye Museum… so damn fun!

I love the city. I wasn’t really expecting anything, but Seoul surprised me. The city is gorgeous, clean, super organized and the people are super super nice and so polite! The only small problem we had was that most people do not understand a word of English, so getting a cab or getting lunch was always a huge endeavor.

Let’s talk about the food people… I have such mixed feelings about it! My first experience was a bit weird, I had a business dinner with my mom and her group, and I ended up sitting in front of 3 of the hosts, and the dinner had like 30 different dishes, and they kept putting food on my plate that I couldn’t NOT EAT! So I ate it all, and while some stuff was good, other was OK, and eating Jellyfish was not ever in my life plan. But I did. And a lot of other stuff that I can’t even tell you what it was. In the end, I came to a huge conclusion: Korean food is super spicy and Soju is very ok.

But after that, I managed very well with all the Korean food, though Kimchi is still very hot for my taste. Other than the main dishes, I’m a bit in love with everything green tea related, especially green tea ice latte. And the cakes and desserts… Oh My God!!! Rice cakes with fruit? Ohhhh, heaven!

Insadong @Seoul

Gangnam @Seoul

On to some cultural stuff…

Gyeongbokgung Palace @Seoul

Cheonggyecheon Stream @Seoul

N Seoul Tower (Namsan Tower) @Seoul

And finally, some random photos of me and Seoul by night.

Oh my… so many photos! I hope you enjoy 😉 , next post will be from Japan!

I finally arrived @ Seoul!

And it only took me approximately 28 hours between the time I left my house to the moment I stepped outside Seoul Airport. What’s 28 hours, right? 😀

My journey on itself wasn’t that large, but given that my first flight would leave at 6.45 a.m., I had no way to get to the airport except to arrive before midnight and stay there throughout the night. The only other option involved paying about 60€ for a cab at 3.30 a.m., and that’s just a no!

So I got there at 11.45p.m (wednesday night), I finished Cinder, I wrote Cinder‘s review (will pop up later today), I squeezed some work and analysed some DNA sequences. Then my batteries started to die and Barcelona airport doesn’t have nearly enough power sockets as it should have, so it took me about 20 minutes of combing through the airport until I found the right place… then I finally got a start on my Queen of Shadows review. 4a.m. meant that Check in opened, so there was that, security and so on, and then McDonalds!

I go to McDonalds very rarely, in fact, the McDonald’s at Barcelona airport is the one I visit more often, because I usually have it before boarding my plane. Now, before you scoff about me eating McDonald’s at 5a.m., please note that I hasn’t slept at all, so it was more of a second diner than breakfast.

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T-1h #southkoreabound

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Time came to board, I started my second book, Rikki, and read about 25% before take off, and then my head was throbbing so hard that I had to close my eyes for the almost 2 hours of the flight.

And then, Paris! I had forgotten how amazing Charles de Gaulle airport really is! I found a starbucks – it was high priority! Had my favorite drink + my favorite muffin, charged my phone, because it was about to die for the 4th time of the day, changed money, took some pics, and the hours flew by.

Suddenly was I was first in line to board to Seoul, then we were taking off, I was finishing Rikki, got some sleep because my head was giving me all kinds of warning signs that I needed to shut down, listened to some KPOP, because I figured that I should acclimate myself with it, saw a Korean comedy (that I laughed much more than the firm warranted – that was my brain shutting down). Had breakfast, saw a couple of episodes of Friends, started my third book and then TOUCHDOWN!

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Incheon airport, Seoul, South Korea

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Getting out took a while, passport control and all, but I had wifi right away, so everything was cool. I had my car waiting for me, and damn it, that this was confortable like hell. Read some more – the airport is hells away from Seoul city centre – and the finally arrived at the hotel! Halleluia right? Well, no! I got in at 9 a.m., the hotel is fully booked and my room won’t be available until at least 1p.m… Happy me! So, here I am, in a coffee shop next to the hotel, with WIFI (thank the heavens), writing blogs posts and reading some more, while my head is protesting so hard from lack of sleep that I have the clear impression that I’m floating instead of sitting down.

I’ve been wearing the same clothes for more than 30 hours, I slept a grand total of 7 hours in the last 48 hours, and I would kill for a bath and a bed… but I still have a couple more hours of wait ahead of me…

Tomorrow I’ll starting posting pics of the city 😀