Work Hard, Play Hard
Wetskills South Korea 2022-
By Ratna Putri, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
& Ligaya Wopereis, Deltares
Anyeonghaseyo Yorobun! (It means ‘Hello Everyone!’ in Korean – I’m truly sorry I couldn’t write it in Hangeul/Korean Alphabet). As you probably know from the previous blogs from my fellow Wetskills SK 2022 friends, we have been quite busy the past days, but that does not mean we work all the time. We got a free time today on our schedule, so we decided to spend the day up to us. My roommate and me decided to share about how we spent our days off enjoying nature, exploring historical site at Seoul, and eating one of Korean delicacies in Hongdae shopping district.
Up, up to the top of the Bukhansan mountain
Ligaya’s story – Sunday Micheal, Mathurin, Floor, and I went on an amazing, unexpected adventure. While craving some nature, after spending a week in the busy city, we decided to go for a hike in the natural park up North not knowing what to expect. After a late wake-up due to the usual karaoke session the previous night, we arrived around twelve at our destination. Our goal of the day was simple; climb the highest mountain in Seoul.
We were quickly upset with how ‘easy’ the hike was due to the very man-made paths, which even included some stairs. Luckily, after 30 min or so there were two options to go up: through the easy or the expert trail. Obviously, we choose the expert one. Happy with our decision, we continued our way to the top. It did not take long for us to realize why they called it the expert trail. The stairs and ramps quickly vanished to give way to what seemed like a never-ending wall of rocks.
While we struggled and pulled our way up, we realized why this hike was so popular. The view of the whole city built between mountains was just breathtaking. After enjoying the view, it was time for us to go down. We were extremely happy when we finally found the man-made paths again. We celebrated our success with superb grilled fish and at the end of the day were left with sore muscles but an amazing story to tell.
Exploring Deoksugung Palace and Having Korean Dinner at Hongdae
Ratna’s story – I wake up quite late today because it’s our official day off at Wetskills. I decided to do laundry first in the morning then headed to the Seoul Museum of Art. Unfortunately, I arrived quite late in the afternoon and the museum no longer accept any visitors (too bad ☹). I didn’t have any fixed plan until dinnertime when I will be meeting one of my friend Jen to eat Korean food that I really want to try (I’ll tell you later :D). So, I decided to walk leisurely toward the backyard of the museum, but then surprised when I saw that there is a historical site nearby called Doeksugung palace.
The palace is one of the remained royal palaces located in Seoul. As I walked inside the courtyard, it felt almost like a travel time moment for me. The sound of cicadas, the palace buildings and structures with their Korean-style traditional rooftop stands tall welcoming and embracing you.
The palace is unique since it is preserved surrounded by Seoul modern buildings. Like an oasis to escape a while from the hustle of the city.
Afterward, I hop on to the metro station to get to Hongdae shopping district area. Me and Jen were going to eat ganjang gejang (raw crab marinated in soy sauce). While it may sounds a little bit extreme but seeing it in one of the Korean eating show before truly makes me drool. We went to the local crab restaurant and I was so happy to saw the food being served in front of my eyes. Jen taught me how to eat it like a pro (Korean ways) and it was totally beyond my expectation. I really like it, especially the spicy version one.
I ate to my full and later we decided to walk around Hongdae shopping area. The night market was very lively at Hongdae. We conclude our walk by trying one of the Korean candid strawberries, yummy! What a lovely day to refresh our mind and body before going back to our Wetskills’ tasks.