For the six years I lived in South Korea, I most frequented a town called Itaewon, as it was right next to my high school and I would often hang out after school with friends there. When I was 15, the location was known as a pretty sketchy area, and it was unwise as a female to be walking around Itaewon late at night. Since then, I’ve seen the town develop a lot and it’s become quite a hub for tourists and locals alike! Though I’m so familiar with this place and could literally take you to almost any restaurant or café there, it’s always fun to roam around every time I’m back in Korea for the holidays. Today, after meeting a friend from Edinburgh for lunch at a Hong Kong noodle restaurant, I walked down by the road packed with antique shops and snapped some of the cutest ones.
Most of these shops are filled with antique furniture and trinkets. I walked into one of them, but it was quite awkward because the shops are usually small, totally packed with furniture so that there is barely any floor space, and as per Korean ajumma (아줌마– translates into “a middle aged to elderly woman”) style, the people who work there stare at you once you walk in. So I stuck to appreciating from the outside, and peeking in through the windows before scampering off once the ajummas spotted me from inside.
I initially walked down this road because it was on the way to my favourite tea house in Seoul. I was so upset to find that it was closed today, however, so I redirected my steps and settled down in Bella’s Homestay, a basement café in Noksapyeong (녹사평) that kind of resembles a retro speakeasy. I’ve come here multiple times both with friends and alone. If you ever visit, order their cinnamon apple pie–it’s to die for. Today, I ordered a milk tea and unwound with George Orwell’s 1984. Despite my overly extroverted disposition, you can’t beat moments like this.
∙ vienna ∙