Monday we had to check out of Elena’s place in a torrential downpour. We splurged on a taxi to Seoul station so that our bags would not be soaked. At Seoul station we put our bags in lockers so we could be free of them for the day.
We met three of the quartet members at their hotel and headed through the arcade to a place they said specialized in hand cut noodle soup as well as a special vegetarian soup that Jessica loved. The two story restaurant had a line out the door. Mostly older ladies out for lunch with their girlfriends. But the line moved fast. The dumplings were mouthwatering. I had the vegetarian soup with Jess. It was cold, a kind of soy milk vichyssoise with what looked like spinach noodles, sliced cucumber and sesame seeds. It was delicious. Dan had the more traditional chicken broth and dumpling noodle soup – also totally delicious. Their kimchi was also very good – a very spicy and vinegary variety. We would go back to this place. We were out of there within 45 minutes and the bill for five of us was ₩56,000 (about $56). Myeongdong Kyo Ja (명동교자).
After we spent the afternoon with them we headed back to Seoul station to get the train to Gyeongju. We would arrive late evening and were hoping to just crash when we finally got to our place there. One thing we were starting to realize is that South Korea is mountainous and green everywhere except the urban centers. The view from both windows of the train was industrial for a few miles, then agricultural plots and rice fields, then tree covered hills.
The city of Gyeongju is not much to look at frankly. It looks old and run down and lacks an energy we had seen elsewhere. We took the bus into town and turned off in the alleyway Ryung had told us to look for. There was the stone wall entry to her home. At this point you step into another world. Ryung’s house is a traditional Korean home. I don’t know how old it is but the house, surrounded by her simple, meandering garden is a sanctuary. We were given our own little 10×10′ room with rice paper walls and sliding screens. Two traditional yo (오) were set out for us to sleep on. We had a little attached shower/toilet room of our own and in the morning she would set out traditional tea service for us. This was yet another awesome AirBNB find. We stayed with Ryung for two nights.