Every time I go to Seoul, I threaten to move there for good. Seoul is the stuff that romantic old-time movies are made of. It’s modern and traditional at the same time, an otherworldly experience that sweeps me up and makes me want to write (bad) poetry.
I suppose I’ll settle for prose.
The picture above was taken at the Cafe Sky & Library in Seorae Village, a French district in Seoul. Granted, I could only find one English book and it wasn’t for sale, but even though the photo doesn’t match the theme of the post I wanted to share it with you guys. (See the slideshow below for more pictures of Seorae Village.)
Seoul is a book fiend’s dream come true (and her husband’s worst nightmare). I knew about What the Book? – a new and used bookstore in Itaewon, but the highlight of my day was finding the Itaewon Foreign Bookstore.
It’s the kind of place I’d like to own one day, with a big, sturdy sign outside and a treasure trove of books all over. I found some marvelous books and when the time came, I didn’t want to leave. The Itaewon Foreign Bookstore is owned by Choi Ki-woong and has been around for more than 40 years. CNN reported in 2011, that Mr Choi started the shop by collecting books and magazines dumped by the American army. I just want to go back and interview Mr Choi right now. What a lifetime of stories he must have in his own head.
What the Book? is equally impressive, with a massive selection of new and used books. Here too, I found so many books I wanted to take home.
Our trip to Seoul didn’t just revolve around books though. We visited Insadong, Seoul Forest, the War Museum, Changdukgung Palace and sauntered around a traditional Hanok Village on our last morning there. We stayed in the most amazing lodgings – Seoul Taiwan Guesthouse – and it really was like staying with family. It’s affordable, beautiful and the breakfast will make you want to marry into the family.
Another establishment that deserves special mention from our trip is Gusto Taco, a family-owned Mexican restaurant in Seoul. Word reached our ears of the most amazing tacos, and we decided we had no choice but to visit this place. When we got there, however, it was fully booked and we couldn’t get a table. We left with our tails between our legs, walking the street looking for something else to eat, when the owner came rushing after us. He’d decided to let us in anyway, and that night we truly had the most delicious tacos of all time. (Unfortunately we don’t have any photos of said meal, we were enjoying it too much to Instagram. Now that’s saying something!)
So that is it, in a massive nutshell, our trip to Seoul and all the things we did there.