Fish, shamanists & coffee princes: Korea 14

Unfortunately today has been a rather unproductive day: I woke up this morning feeling quite sick. As a result I spent the day resting at home (another reason I'm so thankful for how understanding & kind my boss is).  Fortunately I'm feeling a better better than I was this morning. Now that I'm feeling better I want to update you on all the trouble I got into this weekend!

My weekend started off with fish pedicures. No seriously. You can go to certain coffee shops here, have a cup of coffee and then for an additional $2 have the dead skin cleaned off your feet by fish. Now that this practice has been made illegal in most US states my friends & I decided to take advantage of this rare opportunity and have a "Dr. Fish" pedicure here in Korea! I didn't have my camera with me since we were planning on meeting other friends at the bar afterwards. I did manage to get a shot with my phone though:
Fishy pedicure!
I'll "steal" some better photos from a friend to show you soon enough!

The rest of the evening was fairly fun as well. A small group of us bounced from restaurant to restaurant, trying Korean cuisine. I had some seafood pancake and actually ate the squid that comes in it! Turns out squid is quite tasty. There was also kimchi and tofu and an abundant supply of soju. Our next stop was for soup made with pork spine which was also delicious, mushrooms and all. Oh and don't forget more soju. After a while we ran into some other friends. The night ended shortly thereafter; it was raining so hard that the streets looked like rivers. A small group of us ended our evening eating ice cream in front of the hotel in our pj's.

Saturday was just as adventurous. While flipping through my guide book the week before I'd discovered a number of walking tours around Seoul. A friend and I decided to try a walking tour of a shamanist temple/village set on White Tiger Mountain. Unbeknownst to us, there was a lot of actual hiking involved:
Hiking up the mountain!
It wasn't all hiking & temples though: we also had a strange encounter with a man who was having "naked prayer time" as he referred to it. After some internet research, my friend discovered that other visitors have had encounters with our naked prayer time friend. He even gave us presents, supposedly hand carved by a friend of his.

After an exhausting afternoon of hiking on White Tiger Mountain, we grabbed some chicken soup for dinner. The evening ended with a group of 10-15 of us hanging out in front of the 7-11 that's practically in our lobby. It was the perfectly mellow ending to a day filled with adventure.

Sunday we continued our adventures, just this time without any hiking or potential nudity. Instead we went to Gyeongbokgung Palace, one of the grandest palaces in Seoul. We ambled through the various sections of the palace, inventing Korean history as we went.
The 3 of us at Gyeongbokgung!
One of our favorite sections was filled with statues which were perfect for imitating:
Having fun at Gyeongbokgung
Finally we ended our weekend in Hongdae, one of the neighborhoods in Seoul. We stopped in for coffee at Coffee Prince. Coffee Prince is famous since a Korean drama was filmed there. The TV series was filmed in 2007.
Blueberry latte from Coffee Prince
After that we had dinner at an Italian restaurant down the street followed by ice cream back at the hotel. Over all it was a wonderful and exciting weekend!

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