It's the center of Seoul, and the place where you will likely make your first memories in Korea. When I first came here it was indeed one of the very first tourist areas I walked into. I am talking about Insadong, the tourist trap of Seoul. Despite this nickname, Insadong delivers souvenirs, art and traditional food. It was once an area known for it's art galleries and secret alley ways. Nowadays it has let make-up shops and typical cafes move in.
But I needed some souvenirs before leaving, and also wanted to have a last look at Gwanghwamun Square. Upon my first arrival in Korea, the golden Sejong statue wasn't there and the gate in the background was a wall. Things were more under repair when I came here in 2008, and since then the area has blossomed.
On my way to Insadong I stopped at the Kyobo bookstore to find the right journal. I really enjoy Korea's way of designing the simplest of items, such as notebooks. I didn't find the exact one I was looking for but took away one I felt would do the job.
At one point I saw someone had these chipmunks in a cage nearby their shop. They were too cute to pass by. Then as I popped out now and then onto the main road I caught a glimpse of a bum making a fire to warm his hands. That was the first time in Korea I ever saw something like that.
A bar named "Seattle" was spotted, which was a sign ...right?
As for Insadong itself not much has changed since the last time I was there. However the street certainly has changed since 2008. I admired the trinkets for sale and various street carts with their random bites to eat.
Ssamzigil is still the same spiral staircase it always has been. I hope that place never changes and brings in more spunky fun.
For lunch I had some bulgolgi at a typical restaurant you can find in the area.
I managed to get everything I came for and some extra, of course! Revisiting Insadong for the last time obviously reminded me of times past, but it also made me think of other parts of Seoul that I might want to say goodbye to before I go. Time is quickly falling through the hour glass and soon enough all of this will be out of reach. However, I think with all the amount of exploring I have done over the past five years I think I've made enough lasting memories.