Monday, April 16, 2012

Trip to South Korea - Day 5

Previous Posts: Day 1&2, Day 3, Day 4

The fifth day started with breakfast at a nearby Japanese restaurant. Fish chips with Udon. Strange for breakfast but the fish chips were delicious. I guess since we were so used to eating healthy Korean dishes that anything fried is delicious at that moment. After breakfast, it was time to ski! I'm not sure if the ski shoes were suppose to be tight but mine almost felt like it cut all the blood circulation from ankle down. The walk to the slope was at times slippery. We were taken to the easiest slope, for obvious reasons. Only my family opted to learn how to ski. The rest of the tour members just watched us make fools out of ourselves. 

Alpensia Resort in the morning

Japanese for breakfast!

The slopes at Alpensia Resort

Our teacher was none other than our tour guide himself. I realized I've never talked about our awesome tour guide. His name was JC Shin. Somehow he is multi-talented. Being able to speak in multiple different language and able to play a whole bunch of sports. That saved us the instructor fee then. Haha. Ski was an exhilirating experience. Luckily I managed to control my feet to make my ski start and stop on the initial lesson. Went further up the slopes to try to ski longer. This time I went down faster and it seemed quite hard to control your feet. When I knew I wasn't gonna be able to stop with the usual method, I turned on my side to fall. Luckily it stopped as I was already reaching the hotel perimeter. Funny when I looked back at it. My cousins were even braver and went up the slope all the way.

Our tour guide is our ski instructor.

This little kid is fearless!

Since time wasn't on our side, we only got to play for like 2 hours. Then we quickly head to try the sleds. Paid about 10,000 KRW each to slide down 5 times. Fun way to end our ski adventure. By 11 we had to check out from the resort and head to lunch at a restaurant nearby. There was a little boy outside the place we had lunch who doesn't seem to be cold at all and instead played snowball fights with us after lunch. During that time, we can see tiny snowflakes descend from the sky. Finally! We thought getting to see a little snow fall was enough of an experience, wait till we arrive in Seoul. Surprise awaits! On the way we stopped by a strawberry farm to pluck some infamous Korean strawberries. They're very huge in size and I liked that the taste is not too sour like ours.

Time to ride the sleds before we leave Alpensia

Played snowball fight with this cheerful kid.

Korean strawberries are huge and sweet.

The journey back to Seoul took about 2.5 hours. The bus stopped a while at a rest stop and from then on snow was already starting to fall heavily. Our first stop once arriving in Seoul was the Itaewon area to visit the Seoul Central Mosque for prayers. The bus stopped along a main road so we had to walk all the way to the mosque. By this time, snow was falling non stop with bigger chunks of snowflakes. It was such an awesome experience just walking in the middle of the snowfall. The mosque looked like a white castle as the whole ground was covered with snow. The ablution area for men was outside of the mosque so I had to walk in thick snow with all our outerwear taken off with cold water for ablution! Will never forget that experience.

Heavy snowfall as we arrive in Seoul

Seoul Central Mosque

Right after, we were taken to the main Itaewon shopping street. We weren't recommended to get anything here so it was just to walk around and enjoy the view of the bustling street. There's a lot of halal restaurants here as most Muslim in Seoul live in this area. It was also filled with foreigners as I think the US army base is nearby. It was here that I remembered about a Darwin Award nominee when I saw a subway lift along the street. The elevators here have signages as if elevator doors can open from the bottom. I guess, it could be due to that incident those signages appear. 6pm was time for dinner. This time we had indian food. Finally we get to eat meat! Stuffed ourselves as if never had meat. Right after, it was time to check into our hotel in Seoul at Sejong Hotel. It wasn't really as nice as our previous 2 hotels. Old hotel with worn down furnitures.

Hamilton Hotel along the streets of Itaewon

The room at Sejong Hotel

So that was Day 5. The next days were spent around Seoul going to various locations and attractions. Will follow up with that update soon.

Update: Day 6 is here!