We wanted to go to Seoul by hitchhiking , but we gave up. We didn’t find any tips on the internet , and our host Jason discouraged us, suggesting that Koreans are not familiar with the hitchhiking and that they could be afraid of us. We heard earlier about the successful stories of hitchhikers from Korea, but we gave up after previous good experiences with Korail – Korean railways – we have decided to train.
Our host in Seoul was Filipino, friendly guy full of knowledge about the world, and especially of Asia. He lived previously in Japan and China so we curiously listened to all the stories that he told us (also with him we went to a Korean barbecue – we still would like to eat many, many times more, but our time in Korea could not last forever).
We visited the War Museum in Seoul – again for free – it was one of the best museums we’ve ever been to. Of course Koreans presented mostly all victories . Inside the museum you could see that Korean nation in the early civilization was attacked mainly by China. Then they suffered the Mongol invasion, and later became the main enemy of Japan . Admiral Yi Sun- shin – the genius of the sea wars, who defeated the Japan in a naval battle, today is the greatest hero of Korean history. Very interesting was also a part of the museum ( the bigger part ) dedicated to the Korean War in the 50s. For example, we took part in the 4D show about UN troops landing in Inchon. Big hunger (we made a terrible mistake, that happens to us maybe once a year – we left the house without breakfast ! !) made us go out of the museum.
In addition to Admiral Yi Sun- shina, there is also a second hero of the Korean history is the King Sejong the Great ( both monuments can be found in the center of Seolu ). He invented the Korean writing. At first glance, it is as incomprehensible as Japanese and Chinese , but in reality it is an incomparably simpler – it consists only 24 characters. We met in Korea foreigners who convinced us that they mastered Korean alphabet in a few hours!
A nice culmination of our stay in Korea was a meeting of the next friend – SeongHyeon, who was an exchange student in Gdańsk. He took us for a walk and for dinner, where we ate a delicious octopus and two nutritious soups and then we ate delicious dessert with sweet , red beans. We already mentioned several times that Asians eat red beans , but this is not the same beans as in Poland, which is found in the composition of the ” Mexican salad “. They differ in taste and size – Asian red bean is much smaller. In Japanese it is “azuki “. We will miss this taste when we come back to Poland.
We were walking with SeongHyeon on narrow street where on the walls poems of Korean poets were written. Seoul was saying goodbye to us in the rain. Our stay in Korea came to an end. We spent that time mostly on the meetings with American teachers of English and Koreans , who came to study to Poland. First ones had positive emotions about South Korea, but drew our attention to the cultural differences between the U.S. and Korea – because teachers were able to observe for example that Korean students don’t want to admit when they don’t know something. They are probably ashamed to ask questions, not to disclose lack of knowledge.
Our Korean friends really missed Poland – maybe not just because they liked our country, but also, and perhaps mostly because they could rest from the exhausting stress which is expecting them at their school, and then at work. No wonder that when they have a moment of rest , many of them open a bottle of soju . On the last day we went to the Gimpo airport. Uncertain about what would meet us on the other side of the Yellow Sea . On the other side there was a gigantic, unknown and full of mystery country- China.