Group Trip to Seoul

The plan for today was a group trip to Seorak-san, a national park near Sokcho. The weather was a bit grim so there was a quick change of plan and after much rapid packing we went to Seoul instead. Most people took the opportunity to take all their this and have started in Seoul tonight. We three, two Poles and Ralph (German) are on the coach back. The Poles are off tomorrow but the rest of us will go to Seorak-san and then to Seoul, where we will meet up with a couple of others for another night. After that it all gets too confusing…

Anyway, today has been a terrific day. We had a fun bus ride with some joking around and some serious discussion of future plans for horseback archery. We went straight to an excellent restaurant in Gangnam (cue much silly dancing and calls of “oppa Gangnam-style! – if you don’t understand this (I suspect i know somebody who won’t) then go on YouTube and search for Gangnam Style).  The lunch was a superb buffet, including crab (whole or just legs), salmon, duck, kimchi, Chinese, salads, lamb chops and, apparently, an excellent selection of desserts.  I say apparently because yesterday’s dinner was also excellent so I was still quite full. It was nothing to do with dining so much beer and soju that I woke up this morning still dressed. Nothing at all to do with that.

After lunch we all went to the biggest of the old palaces in Seoul, followed by Insa-dong, which is a traditional shopping street (now mainly tourist shops).  These happened to be the two places Claire and I went on our last trip to Seoul, but this meant that we could just relax and enjoy ourselves. Photos will follow.

At the end of this lovely day came the goodbyes. Almost as much as Al Faris last year, we have made good new friends and had a great time with them.  Handshakes and hugs to a while.  The wonderful thing about it is that we all know that while this compete group may never all meet again, most people will see each other in the next few years somewhere in the world.  We have seen here (and have seen it before) that these friendships just pick up where they left of, even after a couple of years. 

Apparently we will have dinner at a restaurant tonight when we hit Sokcho. This is likely to be a late night…

***

That was all written on Monday evening. It’s now Tuesday, and I have WiFi for the first time since then. It was indeed a long evening but a very pleasant one, eating in a tofu restaurant with Grand Master, his wife and a few others.

I’m now back in Seoul, having spent the morning in Seorak-san with Claire, Scouse and Ralph. It poured with rain and we got thoroughly drenched but it was a very fine outing nonetheless, followed by a coach ride to Seoul. Britain could learn from Korean coaches: I had put my drink in the net pocket on the back of the seat in front of me and had to lean quite a way forward to reach it. Legroom is not an issue, which is surprising in a nation where I am one of the tallest people in the room…

There are now the four of us, plus Anita and Emil, in a hotel. We’ve had a lovely dinner out and now it’s time for bed, with the Imjin tour tomorrow starring at a very civilised 11am.

More tomorrow, plus photos.  In the meantime, here’s one of Team GB in full Pictish dress.  Emil joined us for the masahee and very much got into the spirit of it!

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