Hyehwa, Changdeokgung, and King’s Cross!
For the second time, we visited the Hyehwa District in Seoul. Hyehwa used to be the biggest arts district booming with university students. Now, Hongdae has taken over as number one with a nightlife that never seems to end. However, Hyehwa still holds its own and is a great place to visit due to its performing arts area and tons of affordable restaurants and shops!
One of the things we did when we visited was go to the Ihwa Mural Village in Naksan Park. We got there around 3, so we had a few hours still until sunset. As we meandered our way to the village, we found a small handmade crafts market that was decorated with some Christmas decorations. The area also has so many cool and artistic things just on the outside of restaurants or along the streets. Being December, and eventually high up on a hill, it was crazy cold but it was worth it to see all of the murals throughout the village—even if it meant I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes.
On our way back, we walked along the Seoul City Wall from Naksan Park to Dongdaemun. We had been once before but it was during the day in the Fall. This way we got night views too! Between the full moon and the lights of the city and the wall, it was a gorgeous nightscape.
Recently, we picked a day to be slightly touristy and we went to another one of Korea’s most famous palaces, Changdeokgung. It is one of the “Five Grand Palaces” and was built in the 15th century. It was a huge place to walk around and look through and luckily it was not very crowded at all which was nice for pictures. However, in all honesty, after seeing many incredible temples and palaces during our time in Asia, it really takes something extra special to stand out. That being said, it’s still pretty freaking cool to walk around a palace that royalty lived in hundreds of years ago!
King’s Cross (Harry Potter Cafe!)
After the palace, we headed to Hongdae to catch the bus back home. But before leaving, we had to stop at King’s Cross, aka the Harry Potter Cafe, for a coffee and to check out the inside! Technically, they aren’t allowed to call it “Harry Potter Cafe” but doesn’t matter to me. It had been on my list for a while and boy did it live up to my expectations! There were no floating candles or nearly headless ghosts anywhere in sight, but there were a few goodies that made it particularly memorable. There was a school cart stuck in the entryway of Platform 9 3/4, a wall filled with hundreds of boxes of wands, slightly eerie portraits along the stairwell, theatrical music playing throughout, and of course a delectable Butterbeer dessert drink that tied the whole experience together. Ahhh—I was in Harry Potter Heaven!