Karen and I decided to have an early start - 930am to be exact. Okay, so it wasn't really an early start. We slept late the night before (around ). By the time we were ready, it was past 10am and we completely miss the free breakfast the hostel offers. Thanks to our Lonely Planet guidebook, we quickly found a "juk" restaurant (rice porridge). Sounds delicious! And after figuring out where it was located, we were excited that there was one in Insadong - less 5 blocks away! So off we go and we easily found it. Juk 1001 is a small restaurant that offers over 15 variety of rice porridge. They have several branches all over Seoul - all of them small. The one in Insadong only seats about 10 people. I ordered chicken "juk" and while Karen ordered a vegetable version.
Seoul: Cheonggye Stream
Aside from the rice porridge, it also came with small side dishes and hot tea for under $6! It was a delicious and healthy breakfast to start the day. We didn't know then that we would get lost that day trying to find the Coffee Prince cafe I saw from a Korea drama.
After breakfast, we walked down Insadong to shop - I didn't find anything I wanted to buy and neither did Karen. Following the same route that Jo and I took the day before, we passed by the "piano street" and walked along the Gwanggyo Stream. Gwanggyo Stream (also known as Cheonggye Stream) is a man-made stream. Steep with political, social, and cultural history, it is a natural and artificial stream constructed in 2005 after being covered with concrete more than 40 years before due to severe flooding and sanitation problems.
Seoul: Cheonggye Stream
Cheonggye Stream begins at Cheonggye Square. It consists of a square with a unique design and various colors and waterside space with waterfalls.
We proceeded to walk down to Seoul train station than taking the subway as we wanted to see Seoul thoroughly. After passing by Seoul Station, we continued to Itaewon to look for USO Camp Kim to book our DMZ tour. Once we reached there, we were told that it was fully booked and they don't have any available tour until the following week as they only have one DMZ tour that week. We left disappointed. We should've booked while we were still in NYC but that seems just too early then.
Seoul: Seoul Station
Oh well. Again we continued to walk. When I mentioned to Karen that I would like to check out the Coffee Prince cafe that I saw from a Korean drama, she was all for it and so we decided to continue walking. It was only then and we had plenty of time. Along the way, we stopped at Paris Baguette, a pastry store like Au Bon Pain, to rest and get some snacks. We got ourselves some cold teas and sponge cake that were delicious. Instead of eating at their limited seating inside, we opted to seat outside where the sun was brightly shining. The weather in Seoul was fantastic! I thought it would be colder before I left NYC but apparently it was an unusual warm autumn weather.
After our mini-break, we continued walking again. Looking closely at our maps and realized that more than half the streets were unnamed with some streets and alleys not on the map.
Seoul: Coffee Prince Cafe
We even had 3 different maps with us! That is Seoul for you that even its own residents get lost themselves! We closely followed the subway stops to avoid getting lost - but alas! No luck! We did get lost. And along the way, we realized how insanely hilly Seoul was! Two hours later, we found ourselves back to the Seoul Station area. And what did we decide? We're hopping on the subway to get to HongikUniversity where the cafe was located. It was and after walking so much, neither of us wanted to give up looking for the cafe - we've spent considerable amount of time, walked miles and wanted our drinks to just give up, dammit!
We followed the exit sign as per the directions we copied off the website.
Seoul: Coffee Prince Cafe - logo
And still we got lost! We turned left too early and so we backtracked again and finally turned left a block ahead. So it was left, right and it's on the right side.... Hmmm.. We turned left and right... but where is it? Three blocks later, and seeing the end of the street, we finally asked a young couple where the Coffee Prince cafe was located. With a mild laugh (I know it was because they probably didn't expect us to know about the drama Coffee Prince), they pointed out that it is located on the right side before the street ends. Finally! We found it! Success!
Coffee Prince Cafe is the venue for the Korean drama, The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince, a highly popular idol, trendy drama aired in Korea from April to August 2007.
Seoul: Coffee Prince Cafe - Yoon Eun Hye as Go Eun Chan in the drama
The cafe was just like the drama except that some of the murals on the walls were faded and covered for protection. Unfortunately, the baristas weren't hot Korean guys like the drama. I was disappointed. ::Pouts:: After recovering from the disappointment, Karen and I ordered drinks at the bar - I selected kiwi smoothie since I am not a coffee drinker. I really just wanted to see the cafe! Karen ordered a cappuccino which she said was really good - similar to the Italian cappuccino. She should know - she just got back from Italy for her honeymoon 2 weeks before. She left her husband back Connecticut two days after they returned from honeymoon to go to Hong Kong with her dad and Korea with me.
It was expensive though - the cappuccino was $8 and my kiwi smoothie was $7.
Seoul: Coffee Prince Cafe
But coffee seems to be expensive in Korea and it was within the same price range as other cafes, so I guess that was okay. We stayed there for quite a while, where we took our sweet time enjoying our drinks. I also took tons of pictures to show off to my bestfriend, who loved the drama, and yes, she was the person who bailed out on the trip at the last minute.
Darkness was falling by the time we left the cafe. We walked back to the train station discussing what and where we should eat for dinner. Karen and I were making this vacation a food trip. As we closely reached the station, we noticed the numerous food carts and tents Korea is famous for. It wasn't there an hour or so before but now they lined up along the streets and people were buying and eating from them.
Seoul: Coffee Prince Cafe - the baristas were females =(
Karen and I immediately checked out each places and settled at a lady vendor who was making some type of egg omelette sandwich and delicious looking bbq. We ordered the egg omelette ($2) and two bbq ($1.50 each) and like native Koreans, we stood there and ate it. They were delicious! We forgot about dinner, stuffed from our "snack".
We hopped back on the subway and went back to the hostel for an early night. But a few hours later, after walking back to the hostel, we were hungry again! So we went to a small Korean/Japanese restuarant half a block away from the hostel and dinner there. At first we were skeptical. The place was empty except for us, but we ordered anyway. The food arrived quickly and it was decent. Karen and I planned the places we would visit the next day which involved a lot of, again, walking, and "gung" (palaces) before finally retiring for the night.
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