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Seoul 2022: Part 6 - Samcheong-ro


I caught covid. This feels like a good time to finish off the the journal. Unbelievable I’d catch it in Hong Kong of all places.

Once we were done, Yoomin took me up the same road Kelly and I had walked along the day before. We then took a different route through the same architecturally preserved area, and this one was quite pleasant to pass through. There’s something so nice about being in that part of Seoul, it has a very calm atmosphere. There are no big loud cars or horns or music, no bold advertising that strings your eyes; it’s just pleasant streets with two-storey buildings at most, and a stylistic cohesion. The soft lighting of the mid-Autumn afternoon certainly didn’t hurt either. Even the parked cars felt like they fit in.

But this wasn’t where we were going. However, this part of Hanok Village felt like walking through a small town’s high street, except in a mega-city. On top of that, it wasn’t too crowded, and was rather qiet to boot. It was just a generally pleasant place to be. Yoomin picked up some jewelry from a shop, whilst I look at the faded grinning faces on newspaper cutouts and promotional material for nearby food places. I wondered if they were still as excited about their food as they were in their photos.

Finally, we came to Samcheong-ro, a street full of cafes, clothes, and art galleries. I liked how many art galleries there were, fitted in wherever there was room. Clothes shops too were all around, but the cafes felt all-consuming at times. Everything was independent. They were free to have their own look, which complimented the ideals of the art galleries nicely now I think about it. Halfway up, we paused for some huge churros. We both chose cinnamon because good taste is good taste. She spent a long time picking out a hat from a shop opposite, and after deciding there wasn’t much worth looking at, we turned back on ourselves to find the café Yoomin had recommended. She’d actually been there just the other day, so it was fresh in her mind.

It was back on the main road opposite the palace garden gate Kelly and I had exited the day beore. At first, we again walked into a car park, before finding the entrance. The café itself was nice. It had an open, grey stone aesthetic. Very modern and hip. The reals reason Yoomin brought me here however was for the outdoor seating. We had a choice to sit in the square they had at the top of a small ridge behind them, the grounds of another classic-style house and grounds. Skirting the square were a few rooms where. If you chose, you could sit in and enjoy your food and drinks on a low table, the same way Kelly and I had had our orange confrontation.

However, I preferred to stay outside, as there was a screaming child occupying the room next to the only vacant one. Besides, the sun was nice in the increasingly cool evening, so why not enjoy the last of it? It gave me a reason to grip my tea tighter.

It was a beautiful moment of calm, once the screaming child had left. Almost everyone else were friends talking amongst themselves and watching the sunlight slowly turn across the courtyard and then dim. I don’t recall the specifics of the conversation now, but it was certainly to do with Yoomin’s move to New York. I wish I’d been able to write this sooner so I’d have it all written down. But it was a wonderful evening, one that I still remember warmly even now. Introspective conversation between friends in the last of the afternoon with a warm drink and a slight chill in the air. We stayed there for a while as we were in no rush to get up again after all that walking. I made a paper airplane out of the receipt and, as we were leaving, I tried to see how it would fly. It turned a neat 180 degrees and swooped into the lap of a man behind us instead. Fortunately, he was a good sport about it, so no harm done. He was actually disappointed it hadn’t flown better too.

One last thing for the day; Yoomin really really wanted to show me an English bakery to see what my opinion on it was, and wouldn’t you know, it was the same one as yesterday. And it was very, very popular. Packed, it was. Hardly room for me to squeeze between the scones and sitting customers to find a small side table. They certainly banked on people wanting scones because it was at least half of everything on offer. None of them came with jam and clotted crea,. The gall. Yoomin wanted me to try the Victoria sponge cake in particular which was funny. The most basic cake ever. But we bought our things and decided to leave for our homes instead.

She’d got extra goodies for her friends. A short step down the road was a photo booth, but Korea-style. I had no idea why, but photo booths in Seol was proper little spaces, with larger rooms for multiple people, props, and a slick choice of which photos you want. It was actually very cool, and I’m delighted listened to Yoomin and went inside, because the photos I now have are sone of the most favourite things I’ve ever owned. I absolutely love them, they’re the perfect keepsake from the trip.

But that was the end of it. We finally went our separate ways, and planned to see eachother the next day. One more hug, and we got on our trains. Then I spent about half an hour trying to get to the other side of the platform because I’ve been spoilt by the efficient planning of the MTR.

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