We had been excited for some time to have Ryan’s parents come out to visit us and it was finally here! One of the most fun parts about it all was that this was their first trip to Asia so there were a lot of first times to be experienced and we couldn’t wait to do that with them! We went to pick them up at the airport – we had signs and everything (I wish I had snagged a picture but I assure you they were cute) and we were so happy to see them! We drove back to our apartment and CeCe and Tim were asking about whether we got snow here or not. Ryan and I told them that it is a very rare occasion on Geoje island, but sure enough, we woke up to several inches of snow on the ground!
As cool and crazy as this was, it complicated our weekend plans a bit because we needed to drive to Busan but we made it there in the end with no worries. We had a few hours to kill until our train, so we got some dinner at a Pho place…this was another first for Ryan’s parents because they had never had Vietnamese food. We took the high speed KTX Train or as Ryan and I call it, the Seoul Train! (to the tune of the song Soul Train - get it?! We’re so clever. . We got on the train to Seoul and of course, I was asleep in minutes (if you’ve read the posts about our trip to Japan, trains lull me to sleep in no time) and woke up once we got there. We maneuvered the subway and made our way to our hotel so that we could get some rest before our early morning trip to the DMZ in the morning. We got up early to head to Camp Kim for the USO DMZ Tour (we have done this before and really wanted to go again with Ryan’s parents). The funny thing about Korea is that there are no restaurants open early – 8 AM is a stretch and most don’t open until 9 AM. No worries on a normal vacation day, but we had to be there ready to go by 7 AM, so we had no choice but to grab some breakfast munchies at the corner store – yet another unique Korean experience. The DMZ tour was great as usual…we all had a wonderful time and can now say that we have stepped foot in North Korea TWICE!
The DMZ Tour is almost an all day affair, so we went back to the hotel to rest up; Tim was still feeling really jetlagged so he continued to rest up and the 3 of us went out to dinner in Itaewon. This is one of our all time favorite spots in Seoul and one of the main reasons we love this city so much. This is the international area and has lots of wonderful restaurants and a great energy about it – it’s a really neat mix of expats and Koreans which is fun. We found a Spanish restaurant – this was another first for Ryan’s mom. Who would have thought that she would try Spanish food for the first time in Korea?! We had some great food and wonderful Sangria!! Then, we hit up an Irish pub for some beers – great end to a wonderful day.
The next day, we went back to Itaewon in the morning to go to a breakfast restaurant. Going out to breakfast in the states was one of our favorite things to do and we don’t get the chance very often here in Korea so we took advantage of doing this as a family here. Once we were fully satisfied with eggs benedict and breakfast burritos, we went to one of the palaces.
We walked around the Gyeongbokgung Palace which is the largest palace of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty. According to the guide books, it’s the best palace to visit if you only have time for one. We had a really nice walk around and then ventured back to the train station to catch a train back to Busan.
We were so happy that we were able to make it up to Seoul to explore and we had such a great weekend!