After having a long, busy & productive week teaching the little ones, I decided to head to a couple of temples & go hiking. I answered the Seoul call.
The first part of the adventure started on the bus. I have to give credit to the bus drivers in this country. I wish they had seat belts cause it is one scary and bumpy ride to and from the city. I don’t know if they are racing against the clock or trying to reach their destination in a record time but boy you’re in for a surprise. They drive like bats out of hell
I simply close by eyes and just imagine reaching my destination (normally a subway station) all in one piece! It is hard to take a nap but closing them allows me not to experience motion sickness (it’s already hard on the plane or boat!).
Getting on the subway in Seoul is quite an experience. Have you ever seen any of those images of people in China being pushed into a subway or train car so that they can actually close the doors? He he it was a little like that but luckily it’s not like that here!
First stop on my itinerary? The one & only Coex Mall the largest underground shopping mall in Asia. It is so big that you need a map to go through its 200+ stores!
I did go through several stores, including one my favorites, the Sanrio store. Some of you already know that I am a big Hello Kitty fan!
I didn’t do any shopping though, I was just passing through to get to where I had to go & where my heart was calling!
I did make a short stop in front of the Coex Aquarium
I walked through and finally made it to Bongeunsa Temple! It is located in the heart of the financial center of Korea, right behind the mall.
This is by far my favorite urban retreat. I used to go there quite often the 1st time I lived here. There was a special ceremony when I arrived. A large group of female believers wearing a pink vest and I saw the number 108, then someone explained to me that they go around the country and visit 108 temples. As some of you may already know, it is the perfect number for repeating a mantra.
I entered a nice prayer room and completely disconnected from the outside world! It was time to recharge my batteries! I felt incredible. FYI, I am not a Buddhist but I’ve been studying it for sometime now. I simply think that any place where I can pray and be connected to the source is just right. I did send out much love & light to the persons who’ve asked me to and also a special prayer to our Japanese brothers and sisters who are going through this difficult moment.
I was in such a deep state of relaxation and meditation that I nearly fell asleep until I heard the monks chanting. How soothing, music to my ears. It was time to leave, sniff!
I had another stop on my menu…a mountain with a great view of the city. Now for those of you who don’t know me, I always go exploring places off the beaten path, I call it Karlita’s way or nothing Sometimes I even surprise myself! I don’t know where this appetite for exploration, feel the fear and do it anyway comes from
Speaking of appetite, I completely forgot to tell you what I grabbed on my way back.
I couldn’t find a decent vegetarian meal in the food court, it’s always a struggle to find something that doesn’t have any meat in it. So, I followed by instinct and I went to my favorite bakery chain in South Korea at the moment (and one the best on this side of the world) it’s appropriately called Paris Baguette. (Same as in the States I guess)
I opted for a mozzarella & basil pizza and for dessert, well I had to choose 1 among the many delicious treats that were available *Check the pic, I had that little tart with whipped cream and strawberry on top, Yum!*
Talk about refueling ;) It was so good, I’ve to try that again soon!
After that I was back on the subway, nearly crushed but barely breathing and hearing the phone conversation of the person standing next to me! I am actually very glad I didn’t understand a word cause otherwise it would have been a long torture
My next and final destination? Inwang Mountain, in Western Seoul. It is considered as one of the most sacred in South Korea.
I had read a few articles about it before going there and I was really looking forward to it. Getting there can be a little tricky. I got off at Dongnimmun Station (Line 3, orange), take exit 1 and follow the directions. You walk past a convenience store and head towards the apartment complex and then you reach the gate. To my surprise it was a very steep hill! I was more determined than ever and just kept going! Once I looked back, I saw this:
Now the mountain doesn’t come to you, so you go to it. So off I went! I started climbing up and the first person I came across was this monk performing a ceremony. I guess I was saved by the bell! I bowed, so did he. No words were necessary but I enjoyed the sound!
It was well worth the effort and once I reached the first level, I stood before Seonbawi rock. Legend says that they have the shape of two buddhist monks sitting side by side, meditating, overlooking and protecting Seoul. It apparently has magical powers. In case you are wondering, yes I made a few wishes and I know they will come true. Only time will tell! Please have a look and let me know.
This sight literally left me breathless! (You can see Seoul N Tower & Mt Namsan in the background as well as downtown Seoul) The view of the city from there is stunning!
Now I was not done yet, after this incredible view, I had to go even higher. Remember that I was answering a Seoul call!
I was still motivated and moved on to the next and last stop. Look at how proud, happy I was to be at the top. What a feat indeed!
Want to know what the icing on the cake was? (after all this hard work but well deserved)
A spectacular sunset!
I can’t remember how long ago I had just an amazing day, almost perfect! I am still amazed at everything I accomplished, saw and experienced. All in just a few hours and in the same city! Nowhere else but here.
I also received a message from above, just to let me know that everything is going to be ok, that I am protected & watched over (No matter what I do, where I go and what crazy adventures I embark upon, someone’s got my back (Universe, God). For those of you (like me) who believe in synchronicities and signs, I got this at the end of my descent towards earth:
I left for home after that. The subway ride gave me the chance to recover my energies & slept like a baby. So that’s the end of my adventure everyone!
I hope you enjoyed it and I think I just wrote an entire chapter of my travel book!
I made up for the week I didn’t write but with work and all I may not be able to write as much as Id like…
Id love to read your comments, feel free to post!
OK, I will talk to you soon.
Have a great week!
Much love ♥ always,