Day 2 dawned with a light dusting of snow and frigid -6C/21F weather. We decided to head out to the Bukchon Hanok village, so after a quick breakfast we set off. We took the train today – very nice, clean(ish), not too crowded, and a straight shot of about 15-20 minutes from our place to a nearby station!
Of course, once we got out of the station we got a little bit turned around, but we eventually found our way there. Despite the cold, I enjoyed seeing the area!
(That’s fried squid in the case in that last picture!)
I adore the architecture here. Beautiful roofs, intricate doors, and little details that are unmistakably Korean abound!
The neighbourhood was hilly, and with the ice and snow it was a bit treacherous! Paul saved me from face-planting several times.
After maybe 45 minutes of hiking around, we finally got up to the top! (I think!)
A hunt for a bathroom led us to a lovely little courtyard with some neat displays inside the house.
A bit of history from the plaque in the room, concerning the masks: “Hahoe masks are outstanding in their forms and functions. In particular, masks for Yangban, Seonbi, Jung, and Baekjeong have separate jaws like the real jaw to vivify dialogues and smiles. For example, if a performer bends his head back, his mouth is open wide and looks to smile, and if he bends his head forward, his mouth is closed and looks to get angry. Thus, there is a saying, ‘The mask is so spiritual that it smiles as the performer smiles and gets angry as the performer gets angry.'”
Inside, the house had very noisy floors. I’m not sure if the history is the same, but in Japan, floors were purposefully made to creak when stepped on so that no one could sneak in!
There was a small indigo-dyeing class available inside. For about $10 per person we took a shot! (I had a lot of help from the teacher folding the cloth…)
Afterwards we hit up a cafe for some homemade bagels. This place, Cafe Dooroo, had the most amazing onion cream cheese!
At this point, Jansen left us to catch a plane to Jeju, where he taught English a few years ago. Paul and I decided to take it easy and wandered around on our own. We explored the neighbourhood around our Airbnb – we really enjoyed the park, which had a bunch of funny exercise equipment and breakfast-themed sculptures!
This was our first meal without Jansen, so we were a little bit overwhelmed looking for somewhere to eat! There were a lot of restaurants, but there was no English and no Japanese and most of the restaurants in this area hadn’t put out menus we could look through.
We ended up having cheesy chicken galbi for dinner, and man, did we hit the jackpot!
I hadn’t noticed how comfortable I’d become with Japanese until the woman in the shop started trying to talk to us! While it makes me feel better about my Japanese skills, I was a little nervous trying to interact with Koreans. Luckily, this woman was super nice and helped us figure things out. (Also, I realised how much I rely on eating with other people and watching them to figure out how things are done!)
Basically, she turned on the stove and came back to our table everyone couple of minutes to stir the chicken until she was sure it was cooked through. Then she brought us a couple bowls of pickled daikon (I think it was daikon). We took a little blob of the cheese from the rim of the bowl and rolled it up in the daikon with some of the chicken and veggies. It was DIVINE. And Paul, who usually doesn’t like pickled daikon, loved it!
Until next time! またね! Ddo bwayo!