Monday, June 5, 2017

People, Minds, Hearts

Time's been talking to me
Whispering in my ear 
Saying “Follow your heart Til it tears you apart” 
But hearts keep changing
Hearts keep changing
Hearts keep changing
Hearts keep changing

John Mayer - Changing

These past two and a half years was not an easy time for me and my family. We have been through some turbulence and the floats of inconvenience events shakes my beliefs, pushed me to shift my point of view, and question my judgements. 

People change. Minds change. Hearts, too, change.

If there is one thing I can be sure of out of these circumstances, it is those three above.

Someday, someone may loves his/her spouse to the point where he/she wants to spend the rest of their life with this other person, but the next day he/she goes into a new place he/she never visited before and in an instance he/she decided to spend the rest of his/her life traveling the world, alone. People change.
I can see someone as a very decent person, and I can hold them dear, but the next moment I saw them doing one thing which is wrong from my point of view, I see them no longer as a protagonist. My mind changes. 
A man/a woman can loves his/her spouse so dearly but the next time they meet another person who beats their hearts a beat faster they can be falling in love with that other person, their hearts change.

We've been given a skill to adapt. So it is normal then, to change, isn't it?

Food Vendors near Galata Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey

Kebab! Some Kebab Outlet at Spice Market, Istanbul, Turkey

Having Dinner at a Restaurant under Galata Bridge Facing Those View!

Get My Self Warmed up at Cafe on Top of Camlica Hill, Camlica Sosyal Tesisleri

Mercimek Corbasi, Bread, and Salad that I Miss The Most!

Downtown Kapadokya, Turkey

The Magical Fairy Chimney at Kapadokya

Kapadokya's Ceramic!

Dining inside a Cave Restaurant at Kapadokya, Turkey

I remember a year and a half ago, I traveled to Turkey. It was new year. The snow was falling the whole time I was in Turkey. I remember how fascinated I was as our plane ready to land and I could see square colorful houses covered in white looking so small from my window. I was feeling warm. Turkey greeted me good. 

It was new year in the snowy winter, the best time of celebration you could ever experience. The street in Turkey is so alive, full with the twinkles of lights and festivity. Turkey alone, without the colours of festivity is already so magical. A combination of european and islamic architecture along downtown Istanbul is really one of a kind. Just see at how seeing Blue Mosque and Haghia Sophia is able to send those amazement inside our minds. 

Then, apart from Istanbul. There is Kapadokya. A high plateu, over 1000 meters in altitude, full of volcanic peaks. When it was almost sunset and on a hot air balloon can I see the full view of the mystical Kapadokya, a vast lands below, beautiful hot air balloons around, and a warm twilight sky above. It was dream come true. Even better than dream. If reality was always that good, I don't ever want to dream for it will be such a waste of time.

Back then at a new page of a year, though there were already some inconvenience events here and there in my life, though I was wounded and pushed to see things from different point of view, I still think that someday, someday I will be back to Turkey with ones I love, with whom I will spend the rest of my life with. They have to see its charm with their own eyes. Or moreover, travel to another part of the world, too, together.

But there is this other day, where I think I want to go back to Turkey, alone. Traveling this world selfishly, only with my self. Undisturbed, simple, and free. It will be easier to think only for yourself, no? Besides, they say, we live alone, we die alone, everything else is just an illusion. It is ourselves that matter and that we have full responsibility to take care of, and where we can fully depend on.

People change, my mind change, my heart change. However.

People say that we read a book to be able to read ourselves. I write so I can pour my scattered thoughts in order. So that later I can read my writings in order to understand me. Today, I don't, though.

I hope tomorrow I will, finally be able to understand. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hotel on Last Trip to Seoul

8 Arirang-ro, Seongbok-gu, Seoul
Rate per night: around 107100 won

Finally! A decent hotel with a proper amenities hehe. So, on the remaining days of my trip to South Korea I stayed at Best Western Arirang Hill which is located at Dongdaemun area. Best of all, of course, location! I can find a lot of cafes, restaurant, and even shopping site around this area. And Sungshin Women's University Subway Station is only two minutes walk away from this hotel, so much love for it!

There is no pool, but since I traveled in winter I do not think about swimming either. But I can find a pretty decent fitness room, and this is important for me, for there is no reason to not having an exercise when traveling. Breakfast is perfect, western and korean style is available, and I can even find Pho Bo, a vietnamese beef soup, yum yum! And also there is a coffee shop at its lobby, A Twosome Place, which close quite late, just perfect when you want to stay at your hotel at the end of the day and craving for coffee to accompany you. 

Overall, 4/5 rating for this hotel :)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Winter in South Korea (Day Three)

Previous post: 
Winter in South Korea (Day One)
Winter in South Korea (Day Two)

I spent half of my third day at South Korea still in the outskirt of Seoul and the next half day then I got the chance to explore Seoul. On my last day enjoying the outskirt of Seoul, we visited Seoraksan National Park at Gangwon Province.

1. Seoraksan National Park, Gangwon Province, admission fee: Adult 3,500 won

Warm Cafes on Mount Seorak

Seorak comes from the word "Seoul" which means snow and "Ak" which means big mountain. They named it like that because the snow in this area would not melt for a long time after it fell. This area is designated as a biosphere preservation district by UNESCO so I believe you already can imagine how close to nature you will feel once you spend your time here. 

Hiking maybe is not really my main interest but of course I can not deny the beauty this national park got to offered. As I entered the main gate in a cold morning I can see the range of mountain covered in snow standing so tall in the background of some warm cafes offering warm foods and coffee.  

Going to The Top of Mount Seorak by Cable Car

We can go to the peak of Gwongeumseong Fortress by cable car which cost 10,000 won for return ticket and took five minutes one way from Sogongwon Park to Gwongeumseong Fortress.  Gwongeumseong Fortress located at the peak of Dolsan Mountain of Sogongwon area. It is a site of a castle ruins which was built by the 23rd King of The Goryeo Era. 

If you're not a castle ruin sightseeing or a casual hiking activity person, I will still suggest you to take this round trip on the cable car because the trip itself is one experience not to be missed. Along the five minutes journey up to the peak of the mountain you can see the beautiful surroundings of Seoraksan National Park high up from above, just like a bird point of view. My experience, I got it on the winter so it was even more beautiful because the land was covered in snow.

At The Top Station of Mount Seorak

Dress (Cotton Ink), Coat (Zara), Thermal Tights (Marks and Spencer), 
Boots (Marks and Spencer), Scarf (Zara)

At the top station, before reaching Gwongeumseong Fortress by foot, you will be welcomed by cafe selling ice cream, coffee, chocolate, and churros facing a beautiful surrounding of mountain. You could also find an observation deck here in the station, so if you do not feel like hiking further to Gwongeumseong Fortress you could might as well just stay here and enjoy yourself. 

I was planning to continue my journey up until Gwongeumseong Fortress that day, but I wasn't wearing the right shoes, my bad of course. My shoes are good in a fresh snowy road, but on a freezing snow with an icy texture, I will easily got slipped and that day the path to Gwongeumseong Fortress was covered in an icy snow. So after hiking half of the journey, I decided to turn around, for the sake of safety.

So, if you planning to hike into Gwongeumseong Fortress on winter, be sure to wear the right shoes to handle the icy path!

2. Lotte World, admission fee: Full day adult: 52,000 won; after 4 pm adult 41,000 won 

The Indoor Part of Lotte World

This theme park is divided into two main areas; indoor Lotte World Adventure and outdoor Magic Island. They say that this is the largest indoor themed park in the world. The indoor and outdoor park then again divided into districts representing different countries. 

Just like the other themed park you will find many many attractions from roller coaster to carrousel, food vendors, souvenir shops, and of course parades! Once I enter this park, I find my self got amused by the colourful ambience, but I have to admit it that I do not feel as excited as when I am in Disneysea the last time I visited Tokyo. It was not because of the theme park itself, but because I think I do not really familiar with its character and I did not grow up with them, just as how i grew up with Disney's character.

The Outdoor Part of Lotte World

The outdoor part is more beautiful then the indoor one, though, for me.  Maybe it was because of the castle which get even more beautiful as the night crawls in. Because they lit up the light at night. And there were trees and lake and not to mention the freezing temperature in the winter days, it kinds of bring my mind to think deeper. It was the perfect time to spend by exchanging warm words with your loved one as you walk around the area. 

Warm Tteoppokki and Chicken & Cola on a Freezing Amusement Park

It is not perfect to spend a day at an amusement park without enjoying a comfort slash unhealthy but delicious food! And since it was in Korea, it was time for tteoppokki and chicken and cola! I guess you have heard the rumour of how delicious chicken in Korea is and it surely is true!

Me and my brother stopped by at one of the food stall which displayed its tteoppokki and it looked so tempting I did not know how to refuse it. We finished it while walking around and enjoying the outdoor area. I have to say it was a half day well spent at this park. 

Tips: If  you have a limited time in Korea and have already went to Disneyland or Disneysea, you can as well skip this theme park and explore another part of Korea, because in my opinion it was not as magical as Disneyland or Disneysea. But if you have plenty of time, it was worth the visit, though.

The Oh-so-famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza Designed by Zaha Hadid

After Lotte World and dinner, we stopped by at our hotel, Best Western Arirang Hill, to drop our luggage and it was still 9 pm. Me and my brother still can't get enough of strolling around Seoul, we still wanted to see more of it. So we decided to find places which still open until morning in the winter days. Then we chose Dongdaemun area it is! And also, our hotel was still in Dongdaemun area and it took only 2 station to go to Dongdaemun shopping complex by subway. 

We chose to stop at Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Station so we can stopped by at the oh-so-famous Dongdaemun Design Plaza designed by Zaha Hadid. As we exit the subway station, we were welcomed by the magnificent architecture of Dongdaemun Design Plaza, with the lights goes on and off in a beautiful pattern at night. 

The building is now used for arts and design exhibitions. It is comprised of five halls: art hall, museum, design lab, design market, and Dongdaemun history & culture park. The park extends into the rooftop of the building so it was beautiful! I enter this place in a hurry for it was already late night so I haven't got the chance to take a decent photo inside. But, really believe me, it is so beautiful you have to put this place in your must visit list once in Seoul!

Enjoying a Slow Late Night at Hollys Coffee

After satisfied of strolling around Dongdaemun Design Plaza, we moved on to the market area. There are a lot of shops, malls, and street food stalls which open until morning here in Dongdaemun so I say that this is the perfect place to spend on your late night wander.

My Ibu asked me to buy a medicine so we stroll around the area while looking for pharmacy and lucky me I found one O' Sulloc cafe which is famous with its delicious matcha latte. I ordered one hot matcha latte and then we continue our late night stroll while sipping on it and it was so delicious, really. It was hard to get the perfect combination of matcha and latte which could satisfied my tongue but it was perfect! It wast bitter and creamy with the perfect hint of sweet!

Then my brother wanted to close the night in an easy and comfortable way, by spending our time drinking coffee at a cafe facing Dongdaemun Design Plaza, so then we stopped by at Hollys Coffee. It was almost 1 am but this place was still so lively. How would you expect to end your day here in Seoul at 9 pm?  I could not think of one. I guess 24 hours is not enough to fully experience Seoul. Can I have more time in a day, please?

To be continue, on fourth and fifth day at Seoul!