Snowvivor Korea Day 5 – Serendipity

N. Seoul Tower

N. Seoul Tower

Day -1: Seoulmates

Day 0: Fire and Ice

Day 1: The Heir

Day 2: Finding Everland

Day 3: That Winter the Wind Blows

Day 4: Frozen

It was 6 in the morning. I couldn’t quite explain what I was feeling inside. Either I was sick or just too sad that it will be our final day in Korea. The days have gone too fast and I will be saving goodbye to this place that I only used to see in Korean dramas. I will be bidding goodbye to the people I met unsure of when I’ll see them again. It was bittersweet but I must move forward.

Locked in Love

Locked in Love

Tikoy knocked on our door and reminded us of the check out time. Mel and I were almost done with our preparation as we head out to Namsan Tower. I was really not feeling well. I guess the three of us in our room. I asked Tyx for medicine but she didn’t have any so I settled on what was on my medicine kit. I think we were able to consume whatever was left there. After we gave last-minute instructions to Mark and settled our plans for the rest of the day, we head out for the train station.

It was a cold morning. But not as cold as the previous days. The weather in Seoul might have felt that we needed warmth as we will soon bid goodbye to this lovely place – warmth to suppress all the cold feelings away.

We took the train to Myeongdong and it was an easy ride. We waited for bus 5 that took us all the way up to the N. Seoul Tower also known as Namsan Tower. We were dropped of at the bus stop and from there we hiked up to the entrance of the observatory. The observatory opens at 10am and we were there an hour earlier so I looked around and took a couple of shots of Seoul’s skyline. Seoul has captured my heart despite my short stay in the city. While we cannot understand most of what people were saying or what were written on the signs and billboards, I felt a connection that I did not feel in any other countries that I visited before. I felt at home. I guess this happens if part of your everyday life consists of Korean culture. It becomes a part of you somehow.

Seoul Skyline

Seoul Skyline

After taking in the view of the city, we went up to take photos with the love locks.I looked at the locks and thought, how many of these couples who once made a promise to love and stay together are actually still together? How many of them stayed strong while these locks are now heavily tainted with rusts? Did their love survive just like the locks here, weathering the scorching heat of the sun, the strong rain and the changing seasons? I hope they did. I hope that every promise and profession of love, even if I can’t read or understand most of them, stayed true to this day. I knew deep inside that I was also hoping that whatever I have in my heart, I could write on those locks and hope that somehow it will grow and be something beautiful and wonderful for myself. I hope.

Love Locks

Love Locks

Promise?

Promise?

It was still early but I did not have any energy to wait for the opening so Melvin and I decided to skip the deck and just buy some souvenirs. I bought postcard, magnet and stickers while Mel bought a replica of the tower. After buying our last-minute pasalubong, we head out and waited for the bus going back to Myeongdong.

Teddy Bear Museum

Teddy Bear Museum

While waiting for the bus, we couldn’t stop thinking about how the days just passed by quickly. We recalled what happened each day and laughed even at the smallest things that we remembered – Stef’s unfortunate events, Gayle’s cute poses, the snow park,  our photoshoot in Nami,  the T-express and Double Rock Spin in Everland,  souvenir hunting in Myeongdong and Insadong and eating out just everywhere there was a tempting food to eat. We were on our last few hours of the trip and we planned to make the most out of it.

We were walking back to our guesthouse when we saw Tyx, Phoebe, Stef, Shie and Gayle. They were on their way to Hongdae to visit the famed Hello Kitty cafe. They asked us to join them but since we made a promise to Mark that we’ll have lunch together, probably our last meal as roommates, we declined their invitation. We saw Mark and Kath at the lobby of the guesthouse speaking to the owner. It was a brief conversation about the place, the other sites we can visit around, the Filipino community in Korea and the coffee machine that Mark was so interested about. I guess you couldn’t take away work wherever you go.

Gangster

Gangster

Graffiti

Graffiti

Then it was time for us to head out. We accompanied Kath as she was on her way to her next guesthouse. I envy Kath that she got to stay few more days in Korea. Good job, Kath! I wish I was able to see the Dongdaemun Design plaza, the Hangang River and the Lone tree, too.

After the quick walk with Kath, we continued our way to Sungkyungkwan University. Then we passed by some Korean restaurants to which we all commented: Ayaw na muna namin ng Korean food. Tuyo at itlog naman. I guess we just all missed the taste of home-cooked meals after a few days of eating spicy Korean food.

SKKU

SKKU

We continued walking until we reached Hyehwa station. From there, we followed the big street where we saw a complex reminiscent of European architectures. We saw students and office workers. There were also a variety of restaurants selling other dishes like Italian, Thai and Japanese food. We had a tough time choosing our lunch place and ended up at Kraze burger.

Where to?

Where to?

While waiting for our food to be served, we looked at the busy street downstairs. Mark commented that aside from coffee shops, you’ll see beauty shops just in every corner of Seoul. One couldn’t deny how these products shaped everyday lives in Korea. I guess when you are sitting quietly on a corner of a restaurant, you cannot help but think about the things around you.

We finished our meals and head out again. Mark was still hungry so we went inside a pastry shop where he bought a croissant. I will really miss Mark’s food trip. Everywhere we go, he would stop at some cart selling street food or anything that he liked – potatoes, churros, fish cakes, and that strange thing we bought at Myeongdong that after the lady cracked it, it did not make sense anymore.🙂

Desserts

Desserts

Our walkathon had no end. We reached another alley where we saw small restaurants, few shops selling antique items, barber shops (hehe), and a supermarket. We went inside the supermarket curious on what were inside. I was tempted to buy the purple rice but it was heavy to place on my bag so I decided to pass.

We were all tired from walking and it was close to 4pm when we decided to go back to the guesthouse. We had to meet there to make it on time for the bus going to the airport. We were all busy with our phones when Mark told us that he’ll just walk outside to get some fresh air. When he returned, we asked him where he went. Ayun kumain pala ulit.🙂

Goldenpond Guesthouse

Goldenpond Guesthouse

It was already 4pm and they were not yet back. When they returned, we found out that they got lost while looking for the train station. What a way to end our last day in Korea.😀 We were carrying our luggage when they noticed that I was carrying the smallest one. Well, most of my things were small anyways.

We walked towards the bus stop and waited for the airport bus. I couldn’t stop myself from looking back at our guesthouse that served as our home for 5 days. It was a small nice room with all the basic things we needed. I could not ask for anything more to be honest. The company of my roommates completed whatever the room was lacking. It was my home in Korea.

After the one hour travel, we reached the airport. The Airasia group checked in first while the our group went to the Cebu Pacific counter. We were all hungry so we decided to have a quick dinner at Lotteria.

At the airport - where many hellos and goodbyes happen

At the airport – where many hellos and goodbyes happen

Everything happened fast after that. We walked with the Airasia  group to their boarding gates as they will be leaving earlier than us. Then we bid goodbye and parted. (Mark, dinner in CDO, okay? I have a confirmed flight so wala nang bawian.🙂 )

As we were walking to our gate, I had a heavy feeling in my heart. I guess airports will always have that effect on me -bittersweet-  because it is where a lot of meetings and partings happen. Then there was a spark of hope again left by the love locks of Namsan. I am reminded that in every goodbye, there is still that see you again. So yes folks, I’ll see you all again. In our next TF adventure probably? Dinner?

Travel Factor Winter 2014

Travel Factor Snowvivor Korea 2014

Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here

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