The tale continues.
We spent all morning packing and then headed off to the train station. We had left a little late though, and hadn’t given ourselves at all big enough margins to find our way around the very big Seoul station, which meant running up a lot of stairs lugging our heavy luggage. I am not in the best of shape, but it’s amazing the kind of physical capacity you get when you’re terrified of missing a train. When we got to the ticket counter where we were gonna pick up our pre-paid tickets there was a long line, and we had about six minutes until the train would leave. I was panicking at this point, and very close to having a panic attack. But boyfriend to the rescue! He asked the people in line if we may pretty please cut in line so we could make our train (at least that’s what I think he did, I was hyperventilating a few meters away, so I couldn’t really hear him) and we could! We got our tickets, ran to the platform and made it to the train with about three minutes to go. I was honestly so thankful that he was there, and if I hadn’t already been super sure that I was happy to have brought him with me, this moment would have sealed the deal.
We took a super fast KTX train and after having traveled for almost three hours, passing Daegu and Daejeon on the way, we arrived in Busan, in the other end of the country, at approximately 3:30PM.
I saw many things through the train window.
The visuals that greeted us in Busan.
We then walked to our apartment (which was very close to Exit 1 of Busan station by the way) and after having checked the whole thing out (it was bigger than the one in Seoul, but more worn-down) we went to grocery store at the bottom floor of our building to stock up on some food.
Gotta spend that money.
Now a pattern of laziness emerges.
We spent some time in the morning googling around to see what kind of things Busan had to offer. I knew a lot of things I wanted to do in Seoul, and some that we had to do, but a pop culture interest in Korea doesn’t really give you the same kind of information about Busan. I knew there were nice beaches, but that was basically it. Also, since what we had done in Seoul had been fairly up to me, I was definitely prepared to take the back seat on this one and do almost whatever my boyfriend wanted to do. After having done some research we headed to the tourist centre at Busan station, which we’d passed when going to the apartment, and got a map. After that we casually strolled around a bit, checking out the immediate area near the train station.
We then headed home, and did nothing. We had cookies.
We did nothing besides go down to the supermarket and buy some more food. Basically we didn’t go outside.
After having pretty much wasted the past two days we decided that it was high time we checked out one of Busan’s famous beaches, and we decided that we’d go the mothership itself: Haeundae beach. For those of you who don’t know, Haeundae beach is the most famous of all of Busan’s beaches and probably the most famous beach in Korea as a whole. And I got to go there. Jealous?
It was a lovely beach, but something that struck me was how dressed most people there were. Almost everyone who were in bathing suits were foreigners. Koreans seem to go to the beach and just hang in jeans. And heels. That’s just crazy to me. So as the foreigners we are we sat there in our swimsuits, enjoying the sun, and burned ourselves horribly. We didn’t have any sunscreen, because we hadn’t brought any from Sweden and we hadn’t been able to find any in Korea, and our delicate Norse skin just couldn’t handle the blaring Eastern sun.
After we’d finished cooking ourselves (though how badly we’d burned ourselves didn’t show until we got home, so we didn’t know this yet) we went to Thursday Party – Burger & Pasta to try out their tofu burger and some cocktails. The tofu was a wee bit soft for my taste, but the rest was lovely and I’ll definitely be having long island ice teas again.
The fact that they even had a vegetarian burger to begin with was amazing, mad respect.
After dinner we walked along the beach, saw an awesome magician/comedian/whatever who was amazingly hilarious despite the slight language barrier, and then headed into the area which is known as Dongbaekseom Island. It’s not actually an island, but it used to be once, so it still goes by that name. It’s a nice little piece of nature tucked into the city, and as the sun was setting it ended up being quite serene and even a bit romantic. After having walked around there for a while we put up a hammock between two trees and relaxed there together for about an hour. I’m not sure what the people walking past us thought we were doing, but I assure you it was all very PG.
Following him into the deep, dark woods.
All kinds of cozy.
Today was Midsummer’s Eve and if you know anything at all about Swedish culture you’d know that this is one of the most important holidays of the year. Kids play and dance like frogs, teens and young adults get drunk, old people reminisce about amazing summers past. It’s a holiday that Swedish people of pretty much all ages have a way of celebrating. So how did we celebrate it, cut off from our native land? Well we did more or less nothing, didn’t put on a single item of clothing for the entire 24-hours, and I did a bunch of research on the Sims 4 (which I then bought when I got home). Oh yeah, we went grocery shopping at 1AM, but that isn’t technically Midsummers now, is it? Our ancestors would be so proud.
On this day we went to Taejongdae Park? Resort? Recreation area? Let’s just call it Taejongdae, okay? It’s kind of like a very big and wild park or a small and very civilized national park. I’m not really sure what to call it, to be honest.
To get there we had to find a bus, and trust me, finding the right bus is not at all as quick and easy as finding the right subway. We ended up getting on the right bus, but which was moving in the wrong direction. We got off that bus, walked back to Busan station and started searching for the stop that would take us in the right direction. On one side of the road the busstops where all gathered together, but on the other they were strangely spread out, which confused us some, but we did eventually find the right one and got on the bus.
The buses in Busan don’t have announcements in English like they do in Seoul, so I had to really push my Korean listening skills to make sure we got off on the right stop. It ended up being fine though, since after a while I noticed that though the announcements were only in Korean, the sign in the front of the bus displayed the information in both languages. Oh well. Didn’t I feel dumb.
We spent quite some time walking around Taejongdae, and climbed around on some cliffs, dangling our feet off of rocks so high and steep that if we fell we’d never make it out of the water. The whole experience made me feel extremely Swedish though, because not only do many Korean girls hike in HEELS, the Koreans there didn’t seem at all as adventurous on the rocks, and didn’t seem very interested in jumping and climbing around the way we did, anyway. But for us, that’s just the natural way of navigating rock formations. It had to be done. It’s the Swedish way.
All these people were waiting for a cute little train to take them around the park.
Pretty place means pretty pictures.
“I’m the king of the world!”
Yes, we took our shoes off to get a better picture.
After having walked the entire way around the ”park”, we went off to have even more bibimbap and then to take the bus home.
Tune back soon for more!