On Sunday, we decided to go back to Ssamziegil. On the way, we stopped at a very cute little cafe for coffee and a bagel for Steve (it’s hard to find bagels here, which is unfortunate). We did some browsing and I knew I wanted to find a shop to get a 도장 (dojang). A dojang is a traditional stone or wood stamp engraved with your name.
I saw a little shop with many samples outside, so we went in. After looking at all of them, I decided on a small stone stamp with a purple ladder and a moon at the top. I gave it to the shopkeeper and she had me write my name on a sheet and I had the option of choosing a design – I picked a whale because it is the animal of Ulsan (the city I’m living in). I paid 33,000 won (about $28).
The shopkeeper told me to come back in 30 minutes, so Steve and I walked around until then.
I was so happy with the finished product! It even came with a soft case and two cards with my design stamped onto them. I love it so much.
After picking up my dojang, Steve and I went back to Ssamziegil. I made him take pictures in a photo booth with me. Photo booths here are so cool! They are much bigger than at home, and you stand up inside instead of sitting down. They take six photos, and then you exit the booth where you can decorate all your shots on a big computer screen. It was so much fun!
Then, we found the basement, which is actually set up as working artists’ studios. People could also make crafts with the artists like spinning or painting pottery. There were also lots of food stands and we got delicious deep fried mandu and little cakes filled with Nutella.
After Ssamziegil, we headed over to the National Museum of Korea. Steve was exhausted, so he sat while I did a walk-through. Admission was free and the permanent collection was very impressive. There were prehistoric galleries, Medieval galleries, painting and calligraphy galleries, and sculpture galleries. The top floor was dedicated to arts of Asia including works from China, Japan, Tibet, and India, among others. Everything was really beautiful!
After the museum, we were starving, so we set out to find food. We had really wanted Korean, but the first place we saw was a Quiznos and we said “screw it” and got sandwiches. They were actually really satisfying.
After lunch, we went across the street to the KTX and took the train home. We were so incredibly exhausted! Overall, though, it was an amazing Christmas vacation in Seoul. I can’t wait to go back!