Monday, January 7, 2013

Seoul, South Korea

Whoever decided to go from 80 degree weather in Hawaii to 12 degree weather in Seoul was crazy! Oh, that would be me. It is no secret that when you are an expat, living in China, you take every opportunity to travel. Ever since we had visited Busan last year, Seoul seemed intriguing to me. I should've known, though, that I would end up naked again at a Hot Springs...I guess it was what you we do in Korea!

Seoul has a handy bus system from the airport. It took over an hour to get from the airport to our hotel so I decided to use my time wisely.
Before I get to the Hot Springs pictures (no naked ones, thank goodness!) we will start with a day of skiing. Our kids are SO spoiled going from boogie boarding to skiing in one week. They had a great time on the slopes. 

D is a "natural".

I left my days on the slopes behind. Only the kiddos booted up.

E quickly got the hang of it.

We paid $185 USD for clothes, ski rentals, lift ticket and a two hour lesson. Since the instructor didn't have any other lessons he spent the entire day with our kids. What a deal!

While they meandered down the mountain I enjoyed hot chocolate and this good book.

Still smiling!

She was a good sport, as her shirt was completely frozen down her back.

More great family memories!

The ski "resort" was called Jisan Forest Resort.
South Korea has taken after the Japanese with the world's best toilets! Here is the toilet at the ski resort...heated seats, among many other exciting amenities!
The air was clear and the snow was powder.
Clean and empty Seoul subway station. We are not in Beijing anymore!
We took a taxi to where we thought our temple was. He dropped us off at the church headquarter building. The temple was just behind it.
Seoul Korea LDS temple

Seoul Korea LDS temple
While we were at the temple we ran into a set of missionaries who were flying home the next day. They were going to where we wanted to go next so we hung out with them for a bit. It is always a treat to see missionaries, since we don't have any in Beijing.

The fourteen year old heard from her friends that Seoul is known for shopping...specifically for a four story Forever XXI and "like three H&Ms on the same street". They were right!
Myeong Dong Shopping Street
Lunch was a rice mixture cooked at your table. Spicy!
Is it true what they say about Koreans and dogs?
It was quite the big deal for the eleven year old  hubby that we were staying in Gangnam,
the very area the song is written about. 
The view from our room at the Renaissance Seoul Hotel.
Fabulous breakfast buffet in case you were wondering. 

 So the best for last...we asked the concierge to recommend a hot springs spa to go to. This one was in the basement of a building. Just like our other experience, we were the only foreigners there. First, you strip down (when in Rome...) and wash off. Then you rest in many different baths. E and I decided to get a thirty minute massage. Then you put on the comfy jammies and go upstairs to the common area. There are rooms with all different temperatures. There is a salt room where you lay in rock salt that is warm, an oxygen room, an arctic room, etc. There are about ten different rooms you can chill in. 
I chose a heated cave.

The kids enjoyed the massage chairs. We stayed for over three hours.

 We did not see nearly enough in Seoul. My first impression of the city was it is clean with wide streets. It mostly reminded me of Japan, then Chicago in some areas. We had a great time and enjoyed the short 90 minute flight home!

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