
// OCTOBER 2014
To Tokyo and even further...
Narita
Nikko
Nagoya
Ise
Hiroshima
Yoshino
Koya
Osaka
Kyoto
Yokohama
Tokyo
Nara
Kamakura
Seoul
Tokyo
Narita
Nagano
Joetsu
Inawashiro
Shirakawa
Itsukushima
Imabari
Niihama
Sakaide
Onomichi
Yoshima Island
Ako

Seoul (Korea)
 

The…merry company goes to Korea!

We take our flight and arrive at Seoul. Our…Odyssey to rent a car starts again.
Having in mind that it would be rather impossible to get it, we have already booked a room at a hotel near the airport. One more time they refuse to give us a car, because of the problem with the international license.
When I claim audaciously that we had a car so far and present the rental documents of the previous vehicle, the employee refuses for second time and she simply tells us that we have to move the proceedings for taking our money back. We take the bus and we reach at the hotel Egarak Residence.
When we explain our problem to the young employee at the reception, he is prepared to book a car for us with a local company.
And he does so, after a simple call. Unfortunately, we had to go back one more time to the airport so as to get it. Totally exhausted we eat at the hotel our first Korean barbeque in Seoul_ a dinner which compensates us for this whole burden.




5th of November 2014
Luck DOES NOT help the bold ones!

We get up early in the morning and go to the airport, so as to take the car that has been rented for us. Reaching there, I ask for the GPS to be in English and they inform me that it is available only in Korean! So, I refuse to rent the car, if there isn’t an English menu in the GPS. I demand from the employee responsible to find a way and put an

English menu, since we need both the car and the GPS. The employee, obviously very annoyed with my demand, tries to find a solution and eventually manages to complete the task. But, just as we are ready to take our precious car with its nice English menu in the GPS, here we go with the…change of shift and the employee that had refused to give us the vehicle the previous day takes over!! Of course, the girl remembered us and we never rented the car. We buy bus tickets for the center of Seoul and while we are waiting, I book a room for one day and we study the map which we took from the airport.
 

You are spoiling us!

We reached at the hotel Fraser Suites, where we had booked the small suite.
The employee at the reception informed us that, since we had arrived early, our room was not ready, but the presidential suite was available instead_ and with no extra charges of course! When we walked into the suite, we stopped in our tracks speechless! It consisted of two separate bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen and two luxurious bathrooms.
The view to the city was also amazing! I called the reception immediately and said that we wanted it for the next day too. The employee informed us that the cost of it was 600e per night, if we wanted to stay in it properly. It was too expensive, so he advised us to book the smaller suite and promised to give us the presidential one if it was still available. Fortunately, it all happened exactly the way we wanted it and we got the presidential suite without any extra charges!

In Seoul we had to get organized as far as transportation, because we did not have a car. So, we had at least to find a way to return to the airport, if we didn’t want to loose our early morning flight back to Tokyo. We separated the sights of the city in two sections, taking under consideration their location and their distance from our hotel, in order to be able to see them all. The first day we visited the Tapgol Park next to the hotel and we saw the city’s cathedral, the Myeong Cathedral. We also saw one of the largest projects of urban planning in the whole world, the linear park Cheonggyecheon in the heart of Seoul. It is a real green oasis that has dramatically transformed the area next to the city’s channel, which is now converted to an exhibiting area and to a leisure place for the habitants of Seoul.





We continued by visiting the Myeong-dong shopping area, the number one touristic destination and one of the most crowded places in Seoul, with more than 500.000 visitors per day. Every Korean cosmetic firm has a branch in Myeong-dong. There are many big cosmetic stores gathered around the central road (Jungang-Gil) and near the Myeongdong Theater. The most predominant of them all is the huge Lotte Department Store which is literally a small town.





Afterwards, we walked till Seoul Plaza and the town hall of the city, where we realized that they were having an apple festival with various events taking place. We continued and reached the Deoksungung Palace, which is located at the corner of the most crowded crossing in the center of Seoul. It is also the only palace to be found in parallel with a series of European style buildings which add to the uniqueness of the landscape. We were so lucky that we even managed to see the Change Guard!





Our next visit was to the Namdaemun Market, the biggest market of the city. We reached there, passing by the gate Sungnyemun. The food we ate was fantastic!

 



I must say that the seafood soup, which was boiling right in front of us, was a unique experience! The food was really very…advanced! On the way back we discovered small spots where one could taste all sorts of street food and we also explored a little touristic road near our hotel. We found lots of…treasures there. Souvenirs of any kind and for all purses, really!



6th of November 2014
Promenade and shopping!

As soon as we woke up, we began our trip to the palaces at the east side of our hotel. The first one we visited was the Unhyeongung Palace (small palace) which is located right in the middle of the business area.





The Changdeokgung Palace monument of Universal Heritage under the protection of Unesco, is the most well preserved of all the five remaining royal palaces. Changgyeonggung Palace is not as well taken care of as the rest of them.





Surrounded by the Gyeongbokgung Palace and the Changdeokgung Palace the traditional village Bukchon Hanok Village consists of hundreds of traditional houses which are known as “Hanok” and go back to the Joseon Dynasty. Today, many of those hanoks are operating as cultural centers, as lodgings, as restaurants and as teahouses offering the chance to the visitors to experience, to learn, to sink, literally, into the traditional Korean culture.





The North Palace, the Gyeongbokgung Palace is definitely the prettiest and the largest of all the five royal palaces. On our way out we found ourselves at the Ganghwamun Square. We tried to find cheap markets of electronic gadgets, but while asking, we realized that it was safer for the foreigners to buy from official shops.





The previous day we had visited Apple’s store at the Myeong-dong shopping area and had asked for the equivalent Samsung’s store. We were informed that there was a central store, but it was used only for the exhibition of the products and there was no possibility for buying anything. Nevertheless, we decided to go to the Gangnam district, where the shop was. We saw modern pieces of the city with sights of the temporary architecture and commercial centers too. We had all our trips in the city done by taxi, since it was rather cheap and we were gaining more time this way. So, at some point, we reached Samsung d'light at Seocho-dong.



Accordingly to Samsung, the name combines the words “digital” and “light”. In another words it is “a guiding light to the digital world” which leads the consumers into a completely new way of life, through the digital technology. We asked how we could possibly buy Samsung products and they simply told us to…go downstairs. We found what we were looking for, but the employee made us a bit skeptical by saying that we could probably have a problem with the 4G. Eventually we bought it. They also explained to us the exact proceedings that we should have to take at the airport so as to get the apparatus taxes back. If the buying is done by European citizens, one can get his money back. 

Country: Japan
Date: 2014
Route: Japan - S. Korea
Cities: Narita, Nikko, Nagoya, Ise, Hiroshima, Yoshino, Koya, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nara, Kamakura, Seoul, Tokyo
Duration: 15
Cost:
Population: 126.311.000
Rating:
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Country: Japan
Date: 2014
Route: Japan - S. Korea
Cities: Narita, Nikko, Nagoya, Ise, Hiroshima, Yoshino, Koya, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nara, Kamakura, Seoul, Tokyo
Duration: 15
Cost:
Population: 126.311.000
Rating:
comments
VIEW
Country: Japan
Date: 2014
Route: Japan - S. Korea
Cities: Narita, Nikko, Nagoya, Ise, Hiroshima, Yoshino, Koya, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, Tokyo, Nara, Kamakura, Seoul, Tokyo
Duration: 15 days
Cost:
Population: 126.311.000
Rating:
comments
VIEW