Is this heaven? No, this is Seoul.

Seoul Travel Blog

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One of the many, highrise appartment blocks that are dotted on the landscape around and within Seoul.

"Heaven" for me was miles away from the Iowa cornfield in the movie, "Field of Dreams".

Believe me, I've seen more than my share of "homes away from home" but nothing could rival our temporary resting place called, The Sofitel Ambassador......well, perhaps that dream palace we occupied in Killarney, Ireland......but it's a close second.

The uniformed doormen greeted us as we arrived and whisked our bags away before we had a chance to say........don't leave our luggage unattended...............  We stopped by the check-in desk and gave our names........  "Oh, the Mobberlys!  You will check-in with the concierge on floor 16, the Luxury Room Club Level" 

 Since they seemed so proud when announcing this, we figured, well, it can't be that bad.   We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by another lovely young lady in an immaculately tailored uniform who proceeded to acquaint us with the amenities available to us during our stay.......complimentary, hot buffet breakfast each morning; complimentary Happy Hour with a hot and cold buffet; both of these to be served on our private floor, available only by special key in the elevator.

The electronic toilet in our bathroom....I want one of these...washes and dries your bum without having to do anything!
....hmmmm, not bad so far.....complimentary internet service in each room with loaner laptops if needed; complimentary shoe shine service; bathrobes; bedroom slippers; mini bar and a copy/fax machine in our room next to the desk.  To finish off this fairy tale, a china platter containing cookies and sweets were waiting for us on the coffee table. But the pièce de résistance, as I soon discovered, had to be the electronic loo. It was very similar to a bidet, but not quite the proper shape in which to wash one's feet or ice down champagne bottles.

I was already taking pictures of the city from our  window, when Mark came excitedly out of the bathroom exclaiming, "Come here! You've got to see this!"

I popped my head around the door into the bathroom and saw what I would soon decide was the greatest invention in the history of indoor plumbing.  Attached to what looked like a regular toilet was an electronic control panel, which indicated, in English, the area on one’s behind where a variety of water sprays could be directed.

One of the many rooftop gardens to be found in a crowded city.
  It may be a bit indelicate to discuss an otherwise private exercise but it was rather exciting to discover that one could choose between light spray, pulsating spray or direct stream of water in either light or strong pressure. I guess the most interesting part of the entire procedure was the jet of air that completed the deal.  The only down side I could see about this would be the longer time involved to complete the task due to this “drying cycle”.  I’ve asked Mark to look into obtaining one of these for our own WC!

 

Due to the fourteen hour time difference between Dallas and Seoul, we naturally fell asleep early and awoke early, for me, this would be about 0115 am on Monday morning.

Mark helping himself at the totally awesome FREE breakfast buffet which came with our room!
  I left it until about 0330 before I started tossing and turning enough to make sure that Mark was awake as well.  Since we both were now awake we decided that a cup of coffee was in order and we could start making plans for our first full day in Seoul. 

 

We decided to search out the Nandaemun Market, which is the oldest open air market in Seoul.  But since it was still a bit early and the breakfast buffet was now available, we went down to check it out.

 

The mouthwatering spread containing numerous hot and cold selections as well as pastries, hot bevridges and freshly squeezed juices, tempted us to overeat but we restrained ourselves since a long walk through the market awaited us.

There were literally hundreds of side streets and alleys which made up the Namdaemun Market.

 

Shortly after 0900, we headed downstairs to wait for the 0930 shuttle to the market. We stopped by the hotel deli for a hot drink while we waited. Mark nearly choked when he paid for our two coffees, saying under his breath, “You don’t want to know.”  Of course I DID want to know and was astounded to hear that we’d paid $9.00 for each one!  I guess if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it!

 

Our visit to the Namdaemun Market was an indescribable  experience.  This is the oldest of many open markets within the city.

Fresh?? fish on display and not an ice cube in sight!
  We lost our way in a warren of stalls and back alleys that twisted and turned for miles throughout the downtown area.  Although most of the merchandise for sale consisted of modern day knickknacks, household wares and clothing, one could still find the odd stall selling traditional Korean food or souvenirs. Buyers moved through the narrow streets dodging the numerous motorcyclists who transported any type of merchandise that they could fit on the back of their bike.

 

Since our Korean map reading skills were a bit rusty, we opted to catch a cab to the next stop on our itinerary, the Yongsan Electronics Market..  This area of town, specializing in anything electronic, was a haven for the young, twenty something techno geeks who thronged the shops filled with anything from cell phones to laptops.

Not aliens in a jar but several species of ginsing root.
 

 

Our feet gave out before the shops did so we hailed the nearest taxi, arriving back at the hotel in time to wind down at the evening Happy Hour.  Ah….it’s a tough life but somebody has to do it……at least for two more days! 

 

cmgervais says:
We stayed at the Sofitel as well (loved it). What a great first day!
Posted on: Oct 26, 2008
olsalty says:
Don't leave us jelous wannabe travelers waiting too long.
Posted on: Sep 28, 2008
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One of the many, highrise appartme…
One of the many, highrise appartm…
The electronic toilet in our bathr…
The electronic toilet in our bath…
One of the many rooftop gardens to…
One of the many rooftop gardens t…
Mark helping himself at the totall…
Mark helping himself at the total…
There were literally hundreds of s…
There were literally hundreds of …
Fresh?? fish on display and not an…
Fresh?? fish on display and not a…
Not aliens in a jar but several sp…
Not aliens in a jar but several s…
I think these ARE aliens.....not q…
I think these ARE aliens.....not …
Technology at its best near the Yo…
Technology at its best near the Y…
Noodle making at the Namdaemun Mar…
Noodle making at the Namdaemun Ma…
One of the streets making up the N…
One of the streets making up the …
Mark, nagging at me for forcing hi…
Mark, nagging at me for forcing h…
A scene to rival any in Phoenix...…
A scene to rival any in Phoenix..…
Never thought I see Portmeirion ch…
Never thought I see Portmeirion c…
An example of the row upon row of …
An example of the row upon row of…
Street scene from our hour long li…
Street scene from our hour long l…
Another look at one of the many to…
Another look at one of the many t…
A mixture of newer high rise build…
A mixture of newer high rise buil…
The same view as far as the eye ca…
The same view as far as the eye c…
The view from our balcony at the S…
The view from our balcony at the …
On of the many bridges spanning th…
On of the many bridges spanning t…
Not an inch to spare in this city.
Not an inch to spare in this city.
Seoul
photo by: chiyeh