Winter (again!) in Korea – Nami Island (again) — or should I say autumn in December

extremely picture-heavy post

For our last full day in Korea, the last thing to visit was Nami Island. For days, we have been checking Instagram with #NamiIsland to see if it is snowing there. But unfortunately, until the morning that we had to go, there was none. We actually had nothing else to do, so we might as well continue there.

Unlike 2012’s Nami, we woke up quite late for the day. We were confident not to get lost or anything as it would be our second time. Quite uneventful if you ask me — no earmuffs left in the hostel or anything like that. No need for it actually as, at our fourth day, we already got used to the cold. #thecoldneverbotheredmeanyway

Waiting for the train - Hermes astres et soleils silk scarf, Jil Sander tan hobo bag, Gianne Versace double-breasted wool coat

Waiting for the train

This Train to Busan stampeding zombies realness

For those who dropped by here looking for directions to Nami Island, you can always visit the post from 2012. Everything was pretty much the same. Time flew by so quickly, non? =)

But one thing that has not changed was the sleeping/waking match during the trip. Mon, of course, can nap once he takes a seat. Meanwhile, I had to stay awake unless we want to miss our stop.

We arrived around lunch time, thus we had to eat first because we did not fancy eating anything in Nami. There was this restaurant near the parking lot, and it was surprisingly not packed with tourists. While having lunch, though, I have been receiving messages from work due to some “office emergency”.

I could not believe what was happening. I very well knew that I had work stuff settled before going to vacation. I was in the phone for around 20 mins, trying to explain something I could not see. I should not have turned on the Wi-Fi. ^O^

Lunch first before taking the ferry

After lunch, we went straight ahead to the wharf along with the others. It only took around 3 minutes before the next ferry arrived. From the glass window, I was looking eagle-eye at Nami Island to see if there was snow. Yup, there was really none. It was going to be an autumn in December, then.

In a sea of black

Upon arriving at Nami Island, tourists usually turn right, straight to where most sights were. We, on the other hand, took a left turn, so that we can avoid the other tourists. We never managed to visit this side of the island because Mon had been freezing, even before reaching the metasequoia tree lane. Out of all the tourists who disembarked, there were about eight of us who went the other way.

Hello from the other side

It was a good call. The walk around the island was more peaceful, and it became less tourist trap-py from this side. We managed to get amazing photos because of few people bombing our shots. From time to time, a golf cart-type vehicle or a two-seater bike would drive our way. But this way was generally placid.

Believe me, this is a candid shot

Dramatic shot

Come to think of it, we have never been to Korea during autumn. So, while it was supposed to be technically winter, it was still the cusp between two seasons. And, hello, climate change. We did not even need to wear earmuffs nor gloves. The weather was tolerable. Case in point, Mon did not look bothered at all, which is usually the case if it gets too cold.

Just an orange scarf - Hermes Astres et Soleils silk scarf, Gianni Versace wool coat

Just an orange scarf

Biking on the dirt road LOL

Barren trees

We did not go until the very end of the far-side of the island. From our location, it appeared there were not a lot to see there. We then made a right turn, going to the rest room before dropping by Nami’s famous tree lanes.

Hello old friend

Panorama of the Metasequioa tree lane (click to zoom)

As expected, the place was full of people. It was impossible to get a photo with all these people behind us. HAHAHA I did not know how we even managed to get a decent photo before, which remains as one of my most favorite winter shot. It was just really impossible. I wanted to recreate the photo below, but you do what you just had to do.

Expectations (December 2012) vs Reality (December 2016) - Nami Island

Expectations (December 2012) vs Reality (December 2016)

Yes, if there is snow… otherwise -_-

After taking some photos in the area, we had to get some snowman pancakes — only that the stall was no longer there and was replaced by another one. It was really good, but I remember it cost a bit more than we expected. But, hey, a snack is a snack. We would be travelling back to Seoul for some time again, and with no coffee running my machinery, I needed all sources of energy.

Hotteok

Now, for my candid verdict, I wished we had not visited Nami Island. There, I said it. My gut had been telling me to go somewhere else but I was such a slob not to research properly how to go to the Garden of Morning Calm. It might not have snow there, but at least it is something different.

Visiting a snow-covered Nami Island for this first time was a experience in its own. I’m very sure that it also looked good at the height of autumn with the fiery foliage everywhere. The place did not meet my expectations, especially if I have this go big or go home mentality going on.

Run, Devil, Run (very cinematic)

Run, Devil, Run (very cinematic)

As we ride the taxi back to Gapyeong station, the only thing on my mind was food. I could not eat spicy food, thus galbi from Yoogane was out of the question. I then recalled that we still had not paid a visit to our favorite hole-in-the wall in Myeongdong.

Sunset at Mangu station, you can even see Seoul Tower at the center

Sunset at Mangu station, you can even see Seoul Tower at the center

Train back to Myeongdong

If I am not mistaken, this is the exact location of this place:

The price remained pretty much the same. At this point in our trip, we were already running low on funds.LOL I sometimes remember the KRW 10,000 that had been gone with the cold wind.

Anyway, in a matter of minutes we got our food, enough to sustain us for the last souvenir shopping bout of the trip. But even before doing that, we had to drop by the Cat Cafe again for some caffeine and kitties!

Lunch at our favorite hole-in-the-wall in Myeongdong

Bibimbap and kimbap

Signature kimbap pose

Unlike last time, they were already giving out treats for the cats in small paper cups. We were careful not to let them touch our food, but cats will be cats. After they finished off the stufff, they already beelined to our coffee and cake.

There were plenty of customers in the shop, considering it was already quite late. Most were tourists who had to relax after a long day shopping. The cafe also now give out plastic bags for us to put our things, not unless we want our leather bags used as a scratching post or have all of our coats covered with cat fur (which I don’t mind!)

Cate Cafe in Myeongdong

Treats for the kitties, including the one wearing the sweater

Hey handsome fella

If I fits, I sits

You know you are a cat person when one of the things you visit are cat cafes. Of course, I wanted a photo with the black cat because I think they are amazing! The one on the photo below did not appear to be happy having a a photo taken with me.

And I went straight to the black kitty

Next to the box

The kitty is obviously not having it

After the Cat Cafe, we had to do our last shopping. It is important to note, though, that the BPI ATM cards with the magnetic strip are no longer accepted by machines in Korea.We transferred from one ATM to another, spending at least 10 minutes with around 5 attempts each, but failed. I so happened to have my Standard Chartered payroll card with me, with the chip and it fortunately worked. So if coming from the Philippines, always be ready with your card for your banking needs.

The good things about Korea is that even small stores (like those in Myeongdong underground) accept credit cards. As a final souvenir of our trip, we bought some stuff for the K-Pop needs of Mon’s family. I, on the other hand, also bought these 2NE1 albums below.

2NE1 Albums

It has been nearly a month since 2NE1 officially disbanded, and I caught myself close to tears holding these on my way to the counter. It was the both the realization that our trip has come to an end, and the only group I cared about is history.

Walking again from Myeongdong to our hostel in Chungmuro, I just relished on the sights and cold breeze. This was our last night, and who knows when we will be back again.

See related posts in this “Winter in Seoul 2016” series.

bryologue

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