We checked out of our apartment and moved to the Designers Hotel in the Gangnam area of Seoul.
For those of you who have never heard of Gangnam, it was made famous by a K-Pop (Korean Pop) singer who made a video called Gangnam Style which went viral on YouTube and is now a world wide hit.
It is currently the second most watched music video of all times, exceeding 1.5 Billion viewers.
If you are like me, you probably never heard of Gangnam style, but my culturally plugged-in husband, who knows every popular cultural oddity on the planet, informed me about this Korean phenomenon.
He showed me the goofy video which was actually quite cool, and then he showed me how young Pop lovers around the world, in Italy and other European cities, gather by the tens of thousands to sing and dance the Gangnam Style of K-Pop.
Dolls of the Korean singer are sold in the markets around Seoul, and if you have any interest in watching the music clip, you can easily find it on YouTube.
Anyway… Gangnam is a big area, south of the Han river in Seoul.
Our hotel is so much better than the apartment we left, and is very chic and beautifully designed with modern features and nice touches.
It has only a small amount of rooms, but each one is beautifully designed with a different look, different colors, different furniture and different layout.
My own favorites are those rooms designed with natural tones, with the bed on an elevated platform, the walls made with slices of tree trunks, and a tree above the huge Jacuzzi.
The rainforest shower is divine with lots of hot water and good pressure.
We took a long walk from our hotel to see Sinsa Dong, a fashionable area.
Sinsa Dong has a large amount of great coffee shops, boutiques and some good places to dine.
We had lunch at VB (stands for Vitality and Beauty).
I was attracted to the place because of their healthy fresh juices and health food platters, which were beautiful and very tasteful.
The portions of the food were described on the menu as: “just enough,” which actually meant to tell you that you are eating in a place promoting diet through portion-control and healthy choices.
The meal was small but tasty and felt healthy.
Sinsa-dong’s Garosugil road (also known as the Sinsa-dong tree road) has some vintage shops, and a lot of interesting people to look at.
I love observing people and I enjoy their unique energies and styles.
We decided to walk farther to see the more elegant part of Gangnam in Cheongdam-Dong.
We stood there with my map, trying to find out in which direction to walk, when an Austrian man approached us and offered to help.
He said he was a journalist, originally from Vienna, and that he lived in the area now.
I was more than happy to hear his ideas and suggestion of places we should visit in Seoul.
Most of the exciting places we visited we’d picked from the Internet, as the lonely planet guidebook to Korea was almost useless in my opinion.
The journalist put down his shopping bag which I noticed was filled with a milk carton, bread and a few bottles of beer.
He gave us a lot of ideas, while sharing with us his observations about the Korean youth culture, art in Korea and Confucian ways of thinking and how they still influence society in Korea today.
We spoke about traveling in Asia, about China and Bhutan, and how the places compare with Korea.
It was nice to meet a like minded man who was living an exciting life, full of adventures and experiences that expand the horizons of a person to encompass more intimate knowledge of our rich world.
The Cheongdam Dong area is home for the priciest shopping in Gangnam.
There were global designers and fusion cuisine restaurants, some of the city’s better Italian restaurants, helmed by European-educated chefs.
We walked by Dosan park into an area nicknamed “Rodeo Drive,” for all the nicer and more elegant shops in the area.
I can tell you that all the shops stood empty, with their shop keepers looking bored.
All the fancy bags and expensive accessories, unreasonably priced clothing and shoes, all looked like museum pieces.
Another way in which the travel guidebook has failed me, is that it recommended having dinner at the basement of the Galleria shopping mall which was said to have a selection of gourmet food.
It was a nice basement with a lot of food choices, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, desserts, hand made chocolate, etc.
The food was far from gourmet and after eating a selection of mediocre food, we took a LONG walk back to our hotel.
At some point we tried to take a taxi, but we forgot to ask our hotel to write the address in Korean and the taxi driver like most others we’ve stopped before, could not speak nor read the English address.
After days of walking and standing on our feet, my legs are getting stronger and I feel less fatigued.
That night our rainforest shower and the great sheets of the bed in our hotel, felt like heaven on earth….