After a string of love motels, crashing with strangers and Travis’s twin bed, we decided to splurge by sleeping in a traditional Korean guesthouse and paid about $60 to sleep on the floor. Happy anniversary sweetie, how’s your back?
Seoul is amazing. Instead of ubiquitous tombstone houses that litter the urban landscape of Korea, Seoul has towering skyscrapers along huge boulevards, funky apartments in chic modern buildings and small enclaves of traditional housing located along winding back alleys.
We thought it would be fun to stay in a traditional Korean hanok with ondol floors and fluffy comforters for a bed. Bukchon Village is a UNESCO site smack in the middle of two royal palaces – it’s slightly shocking to get off the subway, walk past dunkin donuts and into ancient Korea.
After meandering around for a while, we saw a sign for a guesthouse and thought maybe, just maybe they would have something available. The woman, Joy, a Korean-comme-Australian who spoke so fast and laughed so much that we straight up could not understand a word she said. Did she have a place? We assured her that we were totally interested in the utmost traditional guesthouse. Not modern? No problem!
After waiting around for some time, Joy comes bounding out of the house, she didn’t have a place, she could find us one. Did we hear this correctly? “Come-with-me!” and from there Joy led us to an active museum store guesthouse.
Vinnie and I just stood there, confused. There were people shopping around. There were handmade dishes and ceramic tea sets displayed in the very room that she motioned for us to put our stuff in. “This-is-where-you’ll-stay-it’s-very-safe-alright?”
Did this woman understand us? Did we understand her? We weren’t concerned with the safety of our packs in the open room, we were concerned that we would move and break expensive, handmade artwork. She continued to smile at us and explained how to close the window doors that were hanging from the ceiling. We were already in deep. How could we do anything but delicately set our packs inside the museum, smile and hand over the money? You never get what you expect when you’re traveling and this certainly was one of those moments.
The house was owned by a traditional designer who lived there with her 90 year old mother. That night we stayed in her showroom, on the floor, surrounded by her artwork and didn’t break a thing.
The next morning we headed straight to the bath house where we bathed, napped and sauna’ed to recover.