Saturday, 19 November 2016

South Korea Day 4: Heading for a typhoon and a little bit of spam

Gare du Nord or Seoul Station? 
Our day started with a trip back to Seoul Station (anyone would think we were train spotters we were spending so much time there) in order to catch our train down to Busan. 

We'd seen quite a few French style bakeries while we'd been walking round Seoul so decided to pop into Paris Baguette to grab some breakfast for the train. I picked a roll, beautifully shaped like a mini batard and Becks bought a roll and an orange juice. As we left the store I slowly realised we'd spent £15 on two bread rolls and a juice!

My roll was quite nice. A French batard would be crunchy and sour while this was quite soft and fluffy with only a mild sourness. The soft roll was definitely the preferred style across Korea and Japan.

We were the onto the TGV for our trip down to Busan. Little did we know that we were heading towards a typhoon that had struck the southern end of Korean overnight. A couple of hours into the journey we came to a halt at a station for around an hour. There didn't seem to much information being handed out and our Korean wasn't really up to understanding what announcements there were. Kindly a couple of the other passengers helped us understand that there was a landslide further up the line and we'd be taken one more station on the train and where buses would meet us.

There were TV cameras waiting for us at the final station (I did my best to get into shot). Luckily Becks was a bit more on the ball than I was as we headed for the buses, picking up on the difference between a bus to Busan and another to Usan.
The Busan Tower
Once we'd belatedly made it to our hotel we decided to head out for a walk as the sun was setting to see a little of Busan. We climbed up the steps from our hotel to Yongdusan Park, home of the Busan Tower above. The park wasn't too exciting, but it did help us get orientated. We saw quite a few branches down in the park which gave us further clues to the typhoon which had swept in the day before.
Our dinner stop
We left the park via the northern side and found ourselves in a fashion district, which wasn't ideal when we were looking for an early dinner - our first meal since breakfast on the train - and there weren't any restaurants to be seen.

We drifted around for a while and then found the lone café above. It looked a little rough around the edges, but I was straving so we headed in. Luckily they had a single English menu to give to us. We ordered some steamed dumplings, a bowl of noodle soup and some gimbap which I hadn't heard of before, but Becks told me was a traditional Korean dish.

The dumplings were really tasty, but the other two dishes were less memorable. The gimbap contained spam and that definitely wasn't advertised on the menu.....

We continued our wonder round Busan after dinner, of course heading straight into the restaurant district which was only 5 - 10 mins walk away. We also did a bit more Christmas gift shopping for the family.
Before heading back to our hotel we popped into the big Lotte Department stall. We grabbed an ice cream and then because I was still hungry I bought a bulgogi burger from the local rival to McDonald's, Lotteria. Sadly it wasn't particularly special.

Fuelled up, we watched the largest indoor fountain in the world and followed signs up to the roof terrace on top of the department store. Sadly it was closed following the typhoon so we drifted back through the store and then home to our hotel.

A few random Korea observations:
- There are lots of public loos, which is great as a tourist
- There are barely any litter bins
- Don't assume that two lines will be anywhere close at a transport interchange. They love a long tunnel
- Shops love to cluster together in clusters so you find fashion, cosmetic and restaurant districts where there won't be any other shops.

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