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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lazing on a sunny afternoon

When weather.com told me it would be nearly 80 degrees today, I knew it was too nice to be confined indoors. Luckily, some friends had already arranged an afternoon sojourn to Samcheongdong, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seoul and the perfect place to spend a sunny, lazy afternoon.

I first visited this neighborhood back in December and have returned a few times since, each time discovering more cute cafés and adorable hang-outs. The word du jour around Samcheongdong is definitely 'cute' -- cute cafés, cute bookshops, cute galleries, cute clothes. If you're not into cute, this is NOT the neighborhood for you.

After a delicious lunch at Bene (mmm mozzarella paninis!), we spent a few hours walking around enjoying the fresh air and the few remaining cherry blossoms, before grabbing a yummy Belgian waffle. No trip to Samcheongdong is complete without one.

This is one of the few neighborhoods with outdoor seating and retains some old-world charm, without massive skyscrapers or ultra-modern buildings blocking the view. Even though it's usually jammed with tourists, mostly Koreans toting amazingly powerful cameras, the pace seems slower here. Maybe it's the lack of honking horns or the comfort that comes from row after row of cozy restaurants.

Whatever it is, I'll surely be coming back more often now that the weather has warmed up.

This is also, clearly, a gorgeous place to take photos. There's so much to see and fantastic people-watching. If you live in Seoul and haven't been to Samcheongdong, come immediately. It's worth it. (Anguk Station, Exit 1).

Ginseng, maybe? 5000 years of health is a pretty big promise.

The Museum of Chicken Art -- paintings OF chickens, not BY them. (I was confused until poking my head inside. Not worth 3,000 won.)

Store selling traditional Korean hanboks -- gorgeous!