Exploring Seoul! Day 4
High speed train, Daejeon, & Insadong

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@Tom n Tom’s coffee. They had quite a fancy setup, with a smoking room, what looked like a study room, and regular coffee shop space, rife with electrical outlet access, and of course, free wifi. This espresso macchiato was..drinkable, but very hot. This pastry was a lot to handle, I had thought I was getting only one segment based on looking at the plastic sampler, but despite the high cheese content, it was delicious, with little kernels of corn mixed in!

@ Seoul Station: this Transit fangirl is off to take the high speed train, KTX! Also took a cab to the station, checking off the 4rd transportation option taken thus far.
@ Seoul Station: this Transit fangirl is off to take the high speed train, KTX! Also took a cab to the station, checking off the 4rd transportation option taken thus far.
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@ Seoul Station: turns out we didn’t need to grab a quick breakfast at Tom n Tom’s. The train station was full of delicious-looking options. K got an Auntie Annie’s pretzel, I got this Kong’s rice ball with bulgogi. Don’t be fooled by the small amount of meat, the flavoring was delicious and hit the spot just right was I gobbled it up on the train! Not shown, but also delicious: some tea that tasted brown ricey, it really paired well with the rice ball. I have no idea what brand, since it was all in Korean. I just went off the fact it didn’t have a picture of shrimp or corn on it.
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Map of downtown Daejeon, the “silicon valley of Korea,” home to “the MIT of Korea,” and also one of the top high schools in Asia, according to a random internet source I found.
@Seoul Station: The track to the Daejeon train, the closest possible stop via KTX, about 1 hour one-way.
@Daejeon Station: The track to the Seoul train, the closest possible stop via KTX, about 1 hour one-way.
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@Daejeon: Hot springs food spa at the town center!
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@Daejeon hot springs: they had little pressurized air pumps to dry your feet once you rinse off, BEFORE hopping in the spa.
@Daejeon hot springs: may be should have been a hint when the other visitors appeared to consist mainly of retired folks, but I can't take a hint..
@Daejeon hot springs: may be should have been a hint when the other visitors appeared to consist mainly of retired folks, but I can’t take a hint..
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@Daejeon Hot Springs: Clean feet. Supposedly also rid of arthritis and rheumatism. Score?
@Daejeon: K caught me mid-snap for another manhole cover shot. I <3 municipal street art. Look, they even colored it!
@Daejeon: K caught me mid-snap for another manhole cover shot. I
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@Daejeon: lunch was a hand-pulled noodle place. We ran into trouble asking things in English, but then were able to switch to a smooth conversation in Chinese. Score one for shellfish allergy avoidance! Unfortunately, we only found bbq beef places we’d been hunting for AFTER lunch. These noodles were the right al dente texture, but the sauce appeared to be somewhere between beef stroganoff from a can, and …fruit cocktail derivative, maybe? Stewed pork was great, though. Thanks to the waitress who asked me if I spoke Chinese!
@Daejeon: a sampling of convenience store snacks: seafood theme going strong! Plus lots of ramen, of course.
@Daejeon: a sampling of convenience store snacks: seafood theme going strong! Plus lots of ramen, of course.
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@Sung Sim Dang bakery: check it out! squid ink rolls!
There was a long line for Sung Sim Dang pastries at the Daejeon train station, so I stood in it, and bought some red bean hambao. It was okay.
There was a long line for Sung Sim Dang pastries at the Daejeon train station, so I stood in it, and bought some red bean hambao. It was okay.
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View of the countryside from KTX. It was a super smooth, impressively quiet ride, complete with some random tv show in the aisles, and a food cart I had to abstain from impulse-buying at. Leg space was a little small compared to Amtrak, but I’m fairly certain that also has to do with average height differences..
@Daejeon Station about to board the superfast KTX. Did you know it takes something like 4-5 hours to drive from Daejeon to Seoul? KTX takes only 1 hour!! It's practically a suburb! We are very excited to go back to Seoul..
@Daejeon Station about to board the superfast KTX. Did you know it takes something like 4-5 hours to drive from Daejeon to Seoul? KTX takes only 1 hour!! It’s practically a suburb! We are very excited to go back to Seoul..
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@Seoul: Jogyesa temple, in the main part of town, and “the most important one” according to my travel guide. Headquarters of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, the major sect of Korean Zen (Seon) Buddhism. Click on the photo to zoom in on the descriptor for more info. Did you know tourists can book temple stays?
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@Jogyesa Temple: 500+ year old tree! Baby Buddha statue! Beautifully well-cared-for lotus flowers!
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@ Balwoo Gongyang: that’s my game face, still on the second course trying to enjoy it. Top right: sticky rice, middle: very green healthy-tasting soup, bottom: dessert was okay. No that was not chocolate. This will make a good story some day..
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Explored in Insadong: clockwise from top left: finally found some street art, giant sculpture at the design school, uncertain enthusiasm for a midnight waffle with chocolate, kiwi, whipped cream and oranges, the inside of said charming tea and dessert place, tiny figurine of a hello kitty icee machine making a hello kitty-shaped icee, enjoying some late night smoothie and coffee, elaborate fancy espresso for K.

We kind of stumbled into Insadong, and it was quite a treat, lots of people-watching for young couples and tourists strolling next to the palace wall (on the outside of Geongbokgung), past lots of dessert and coffee places, and eclectic little shops. Folks definitely come out more once the day has cooled. I would go back here in a heartbeat. There were also a few buskers and random jewelry stands for perusing, lots of loud Chinese tourists to eavesdrop on.

Outside the same tea shop: look, it's the scene that's drawn inside! Sorry it's a bit blurry, this is my first trip where I didn't tote the camera around, just took the smartphone with.
Outside the same tea shop: look, it’s the scene that’s drawn inside! Sorry it’s a bit blurry, this is my first trip where I didn’t tote the camera around, just took the smartphone with.

Note to readers: sorry if you are looking at the last few entries and the pictures are sideways, I just discovered some flaws in how they’re read, if, for instance, you are looking via Safari on an older generation iphone. Will get to fixing it soon.

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