As usual, I got lost but all I had to do was to wait at Hansung Uni station Exit 5 and call the guesthouse owner, Mickey, for SOS. Almost immediately, he turned up in his white car and drove me to his lovely guesthouse which was just under a 5 minute drive away. I was grateful to just tumble into his car with my dirty backpack and tired legs.
The drive to the guesthouse included a historical fortress gate, fortress walls and quaint old houses. There were also a few restaurants and cafes along the way and around the area. Mickey was trying very hard to get me to focus and remember how to get home on my own but I was just too distracted by the sights. Even before arriving, I knew I was in good hands and in a wonderful place.
After passing through the gates, you will be welcomed by a neat garden and a white 2- level house. Guests stay on the second level while Mickey and his family stay on the first. The second level was spacious and felt like home. Everything you could possibly need was available – kitchenette, refrigerator, TV, wireless, travel information, dining table, bathroom, drying rack and a sofa with a mini-massage machine. Didn’t try that though! The shared bathroom was clean and huge, and the water was heated. BTW, the kitchen had tea, honey, coffee, fruits, butter, jam and some snacks.
My bedroom was spacious and had a comfortable queen-sized bed, dresser, heater and hanging rack. I was glad to be ‘home’ every night of my short but sweet stay in Seoul.
After settling down, Mickey soon came up with something to feed my growling stomach. Perhaps he could sense my hunger along the way but I would rather think that he was just being a very gracious host. I wolfed down that simple but delicious sandwich.
Mickey then kindly drove me to where I wanted to go next – Gyeongbukgung. That saved me so much time (and legwork from getting lost yet again).
After trooping around town, I went back to the guesthouse and decided to explore the area. There were the usual coffee chains and a nice huge bakery with a cafe; mom and pop stores selling toppoki and fishcakes across the street and some fruit stalls; convenience stores and a second goods store named Beautiful Store. Ended the walkabout with a good cup of hand-dripped coffee in one of the cafes along the way (look out for the bicycle outside on the fake green lawn).
At about 10 pm, Mickey knocked on my door and asked if I was ready to go. Go where? I rubbed my bleary eyes and put on my jacket over my PJs and followed him to his car. It was nice just driving through the neighbourhood and up a hill to a lookout point overlooking Seoul with all its twinkling lights and lighted fortress walls. An experience that I would never have if not for the generosity of my host.
Breakfast is served at 8.30am and I would gladly wake up early everyday just to eat Mickey’s mother’s homemade breakfast. It was a hearty tteok (rice cake) dish with eggs, soup dumplings and some minced meat served with side dishes. Mickey’s mother was a kind and gentle host with a beautiful smile.
After breakfast, Mickey took me along the fortress wall for some hiking on our way to Bukchon Hanok village. The weather was great, the view was scenic and the company’s lovely. What more could one ask for?
We ended up at the hanok village and Mickey managed to take hideous candid shots of me goofing around… I’m threatening a bad rating in exchange for the photos.
I’m starting to get quite familiar with Mickey’s car and my trip ended quite aptly with him sending me off to the airport bus stop at Sungkyunkwan University. He even carried my tatty backpack for me despite my (mild) protests.
This has got to be one of my best stays ever anywhere in the world with a lovely house, proper amenities, delicious breakfast and last but definitely not the least, a host family with so much sincerity in making sure that you are comfortable, welcomed and well-rested.
(Tripadvisor Review – March 2015)