Day 8 (morning) in South Korea: Cheonggyecheon Stream

We woke up in realisation it was the last day of our trip.

It hit us that we were going to be flying back to Singapore that day! We opted to finish the tteokbokki chips (which was tasty) we bought a few days back instead of the complimentary breakfast. It was taking up space, and we needed all the space we could get! Ultimately, we managed to squeeze everything just nicely into our luggages and the foldable duffel bag! We left the bags with the reception, letting them know we’d be back later.

The previous day, we saw a sign saying ‘Secret Alley to Myeongdong Cathedral’ (the fact that it was on a public sign meant that it wasn’t so secret after all) near the entrance to K-Pop Residence, so we made use of it to arrive at the cathedral. The cathedral was an important historical building, and having read up on it, we were able to appreciate its significance. It was also beautifully built.

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Running out of money, we decided to go scouring for the best rates. Unfortunately, the rates that day were literally plunging right before our eyes. There were money changers to whom we returned ten minutes later, whose rates were different already. We even saw the operators rushing down the stairs, holding digit cards and replacing the current ones! We were climbing up the stairs to one of them when one such person climbed down, inducing us to quicken our steps. Thankfully, we were offered the existing rates, but still had to settle for worse than the day before. Still, we could conclude that the best money changers were on the second floor!

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We went to Innisfree to purchase the Green Barley Cleanser that Clara’s mom requested, then started to make our way towards an attraction we had somehow missed, despite spending days in Jongno-gu – Cheonggyecheon stream!

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Along the way we passed by Lotte Young Plaza, where we were the day before, and the Lotte Department Store. We went to the basement of the latter, which was called Lotte Supermarket, to engage in a last-minute dash for snacks and groceries to take home. More tteokbokki chips and honey butter chips, and also debutants like Market-O brownies, citron tea and a large pack of seaweed went into the tote bag that Clara brought along (well, not the seaweed, which was too large and had to be carried around)!

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We lost our bearings for a while, wandering cluelessly through Lotte Hotel, but soon were on the right track again. Passed by the Seoul City Hall and its polarising architecture (it was described as a crashing tsunami wave of glass and metal by Lonely Planet).

Eventually, we hit the stream, and coincidentally the beginning of it, too. It was peaceful and serene-looking, and we did see a few office workers strolling alongside. It possibly helped them take some stress off work!

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There were tents already set up for an event later that night, but we wouldn’t be there to witness it, so we didn’t pay much attention. In the background was the frequently-mentioned ‘ice cream cone’ that marked the Cheonggyecheon plaza as well as the start of the stream.

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They say do as the locals do, so we audaciously went ahead and gave our feet a soak in the stream! But we were far from the only ones! The water was crystal-clear, but the rocks at the bottom of the stream did have some moss growing on it haha. It was therapeutic soaking our feet and relaxing, listening to the sounds of the flowing water and people chatting away. There was a wishing well, and some tourists had a go at tossing coins into it.

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Oh yes, we bought one of these recommended Petitzel desserts to try! Our intention was to enjoy it while soaking our feet under the arch, but we realised it didn’t come with a spoon, and we didn’t have one, so we could only pose with it (with a tinge of sadness). Spotty, especially, was thoroughly disappointed!

Having spent a considerable part of our last day chilling and people-watching, we decided to hop over to the stone steps nearby to take some photos. However, it took quite a painful amount of time to get the photos as we wanted because there were photobombers and summer school students (some from Singapore, actually) who claimed the area for themselves, and took their time.

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All was well, though – they left and we eventually got some shots that we really liked! Hooray!

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We continued our walk down the length of the stream until we got too hungry to continue anymore, then veered off the path and towards our destination for lunch – Yoogane!

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