It’s been a fortnight since my grandparents visited Korea on their way back from Australia. It was my first time seeing any family since I left York just after Christmas 2015 and luckily their stay coincided with a week of of my school being shut for various national holidays so I’d actually be able to take trips with them rather than just seeing them after work.
We had a few days in Daegu where my biggest challenge was trying to take them to as many of the restaurants I enjoy as possible. Food in Korea is one of its highlights. I just about managed to take them to most of my favourites, but there were a couple that had to be cut due to lack of time. I think BBQ was their favourite – and we managed plenty of those!
We did just one day trip together in Daegu on the last day of their trip. A slightly rainy trip up Palgong mountain and to the temple there.
The rest of our time together in Korea was spent either in Busan or up in Seoul. Busan I had a long weekend, so after my grandparents had seen a bit of the frisbee and done some of their own sightseeing I went with them to see the Jagalchi fish market and the cultural village.
We had a full five days in Seoul as it was Children’s day – so schools were shut. I’d booked us a fantastic airbnb between Myeongdong and Dongdaemun in the heart Seoul. After dropping our bags we walked out towards Namsan park in the centre of the city. I’d planned to head to the cable car and ride up to enjoy the views. I hadn’t planned for the 90 minute queue to take the cable car. My grandparents chatted to some people who’d just come down and were up for trying to hike up. I was a bit worried about this as it was about 2km to get to top and constant uphill. We managed it though! Then topped it off with a looping trip down via the Hanok traditional village.
Over the next couple of days we checked out the palaces, secret gardens, shrines and artsy districts in the city. Lots of sightseeing = lots of walking. Luckily my grandparents still seem to have bags of energy. The secret garden was my highlight of all the ‘sights’ – not a secret in the slightest – but huge and with beautiful buildings around small ponds.
I disappeared off one afternoon whilst my grandparents saw the Cathedral to sample many of the delights of the Korean Beer festival with Gwena. Beer, sun and music = perfect afternoons. Looking forward to more of these over the summer.
We took a day trip to the outskirts of Seoul to Suwon too see its old fortress and wander the walls. Whilst we were there it also turned out to be their performing arts festival – so we saw the end of a dress rehearsal for a show that was going to be on later and then another smaller show on in the square.
My grandparents left shortly after, fairly exhausted, for a pretty long journey back to the UK where their jam-packed schedules didn’t sound like they’d get any recovery time! It was lovely to see them and show them where I live. Excited that I will get more visitors this summer, with friends arriving in August – so they will get the full heat of Dafrica!