Because my birthday was on a Friday this year, I still had to work. It was one of my shorter days, so it wasn’t too bad. Once I had finished my last class, I was packing up my stuff to go home when all of my coworkers surprised me with an amazing cake. They sang to me and had me blow out the candles then we all proceeded to eat it with chopsticks as our school doesn’t have any spoons or forks haha.
The next day, Ryan had planned out everything. He managed to keep it a surprise so I really had no idea what to expect. We headed into Seoul and into the Bukchon area. We have been here many times because this is one of the really historic neighborhoods. It has a hanok village, which is traditional Korean style housing, and more palaces and temples than you can imagine. Our first stop was Changdeokgung Palace. This place is huge and is regarded as one of the most beautiful palaces in Korea. We explored around the same grounds that many of the Joseon kings lived. It is one of the most well preserved palaces from that time period.
It was such a hot day that afterwards we made a pit stop at a café in Hongdae to cool off and get some caffeine. If you don’t already know from our last café experience, Café NiaNia, a cat café, Korea has some pretty interesting coffee shop themes. Thanks Nature Café is another gloriously themed café that features two sheep, Hope and Joy. That’s right, a sheep café. The two sheep are perfectly groomed and clean and are kept in a pin in the corner of the café. There is hay for you to feed them, too! We were lucky to catch them, because normally when it gets too hot in the summer, the owner takes them to his farm.
Next we met up with our friends, Kenny and Soo. They had helped Ryan get a reservation at this fun Japanese Izakaya restaurant. We ate sushi and stir fry out on their terrace beneath hanging white paper fish lanterns. Now that it is getting warm, many places here are starting to open up their outside walls to create terraces.
We spent the rest of the night wandering around the busy Hongdae streets. Soo and I shopped for a while before we stopped in for drinks at a couple of the bars. An Irish pub called Irish Shamrock and Roll that played 90s punk rock and an underground hookah lounge which was jungle themed. Again, Korea loves it’s themed establishments.
I had an amazing day!