We caught a 1.30am Korean Airlines flight on Saturday as Daddy got back from overseas just a few hours earlier and needed some turnover time. Our extended family met us at the airport and after a midnight snack we braced ourselves with excitement: Seven adults & seven young kids (youngest being one year old and the oldest being 65 years old) meant an itinerary split down the middle between grown up's and kiddo places of interest. First hurdle: six hours on the plane!
It was a mix of experiences for everyone but we all agreed we managed little sleep, largely due to the 7 children. We caught bus 6015 to our apartments in Chungmuro and managed to catch a much needed nap on the 1 hour 30 minutes bus ride. The apartment building (Elcru Metropolitan Apartments) is located just a few hundred metres from the airport bus station and is located at Chungmuro subway station. A huge plus when it comes to travelling around Seoul since it is the station for 2 lines. Considering we are settling 4 families in 4 different apartments, it took us a little longer than expected to get everyone settled and comfortable.
By the time we decided to head out for lunch around the area, it was late. Daddy went to Chungjeong to pick up his race bib for tomorrow's Seoul Challenge 10k and met us at Lotte Mart near Seoul Station after.
|We've arrived in Seoul!|
|Regrouping before lunch!|
|Our apartment at Elcru Metrocity Apartments|
|Bibimbap for the kids at a restaurant just round the corner from our place.|
|Traditional Kimchi Soup for Mummy!|
|Daddy gets his race bib! The Seoul Challenge 10k route will take him through the final 10 kilometres of the Seoul International Marathon route, organized by the same agency.|
Lotte Mart has always been a favourite stop for Mummy as the produce is fresh and cheap. They have a good range of traditional snacks and goodies too. In short, Lotte Mart itself, is a wonderfully mixed Korean shopping cart. It opens from 9am to 12am everyday so late night shoppers would find it a pleasant place too.
|Armed with our trolleys! Here we go!|
We discovered something else our family especially enjoyed here: food sampling! The sales ladies were oh so obliging, and didn't mind a bit even if we returned for more after a few loops of the store. The many sale ladies scattered around Lotte Mart also advertised their 'Last minute sale!" using microphones. It made the whole place so bustling. Really helped to set the mood for more enjoyable (read: impulsive) shopping. Needless to say, it worked and we took back to the apartment all sorts of fruit, seaweed snacks and other munchies, and of course, juices to wash them down.
|Small pieces of croissant...|
|Cheese sausages! Yum.|
|Nuggets, freshly fried and still warm.|
|These were really nice and we got ourselves a cooked pack. You can buy the raw version as well.|
|Alaska Salmon anyone? Yes please!|
|We got to try juices too. The booths line the aisle and the drinks are dispensed into small cups for tasting.|
|Korea is known for their seaweed. We're trying the 'non-spicy' version here. The kids wolf these down so quickly we didn't mind getting jumbo packs.|
|Sampling was not limited to cooked or processed foods. Koreans take pride in some of the sweetest locally grown fruits and tasty greens. We bought ourselves packs of apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes and Jeju mandarins.|
|Too bad they didn't have sushi tasting. Still, it was a treat to watch the sashimi chefs carve up a whopper of a mackerel!|
|Peanut pancake in red-bean sauce! Sinful, but a little won't hurt.|
|Canned meats fried for you on the spot.|
|How about a small cup of noodles? This one was a little too spicy for the kids.|
|Not everyone was enthusiastic about food tasting in mid afternoon. The trolley ride is actually quite sleep inducing!|
|The fruit section in Lotte Mart is one of our favourites! We love our fruits!|
|After paying, some of the hand-carried items can be bound together with string or boxed up to be carried home. It's all DIY, but economical, environmentally friendly, and convenient.|
We were so tired after grocery shopping we split into taxis to return to Chungmuro and settled for take out simple Korean food for dinner. The cabs were useful in that we didn't have to lug our loot back through the subway.
|Shopping at the nearby CU convenience store for goodies we don't find in Singapore, such as our favourite 'Conch-Shaped Seasame Crackers'.|
|The kids were somewhat occupied with some art and craft packets we brought along and had fun playing together.|