Seoul, Open City

Nicholas Quirke was actually feeling overfed on 10 February 2020 having eaten, breakfast, lunch and dinner for the first time in almost a month. He even went without his now customary snack of Garlic peas; he had ensured he travelled with a supply. He started the day by fully researching the Subway and how to use it. Like Oyster in London, Peng convinced him to go another Gallery, the Samsung Leeum Museum and he was going to combine this with lunch in a nearby Vegan restaurant and then a walk along the Han river bank. Once in the subway he found it a very easy and clear system to work and he got himself to the location with ease. Once on the train he was entertained by a young lad who was truly nodding off. It was another nice day and the Hangangin area he was in seemed very smart and quite hilly and swathed in his winter clothes as he was made him feel overheated and slightly irritable. He arrived at the Gallery only to find it shut on a Monday. The ghost of previous disappointments were called to mind and he banished the negative thoughts and looked on Happy Cow for the location of the Vegan restaurant ‘Root’ he had sourced, which was literally 2 minutes away. It somehow took him another 15 minutes of wandering around, back and forth till he discovered it was on the first floor of a building and not street level. Hot and bothered he found a seat in the chichi venue and disrobed. The menu seemed to contain a lot which he imagined must be plant based. On asking he discovered no it was not a vegan Restaurant. They were selling an attractive looking warm puy lentil salad with Tofu. This looked ideal so he ordered it. Nicholas looked on the Happy cow app To check how he had made this mistake and discovered he was in fact in a restaurant that was not Vegan but vegan options. He scolded himself. ‘Detail, Detail, Detail.’! As he ate he worked out the route to another sight he wanted to look at. Having planned his next move, he suddenly remembered to check the detail. Shut! Well then it would be straight to the river. All over the huge sprawling city, there seemed to be so many tower blocks and Skyscrapers, yet almost everywhere he went the buildings, which he expected to be dwarfed by, as in New York, London, cities across the globe, yet here in Seoul the deceptive landscape continually opened up, like the mountains and peaks that surround the city, into wide spaces with incredible views. Coming out of the station and greeted by the sight of the over and the bridge and the mountains was breath taking. And his walk along the bank, in the glorious sunshine, taking in the Sights and the smells, the scenery, the art work, skateboarders, filmmakers, dancers, all for free filled him with joy. He eventually turned back as he had arranged to meet another local to help him with his trip to the city, though by now Nicholas felt he didn’t need a guide as he seemed to be mastering the transport and the sights on his own. However, Patrick was very helpful in locating a place where he could get a special Face mask and he was about to stock up for his return to China, when they said he could only have 1, and showing him what and where he could eat. He was able to enjoy a traditional Korean dish, specially cooked with vegan ingredients only and take him to a bar where he enjoyed a Budweiser and some Chips. His guide was also very helpful in sorting out getting round Korea itself. So despite feeling absolutely bloated after his minimalist diet of the past few weeks, he felt dinner and a drink was fair recompense four the information he had garnered. It was also a great opportunity for him to learn more about the culture Of South Korea which was enjoying the unheard of privilege of one of their film makers winning the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Parasite. Amusingly most of the Local people that he congratulated and spoke with had not even seen the movie.


  1. Seoul looks really interesting and surprisingly ‘western’ – some shots along the river are similar to looking cross the Hudson towards New Jersey from Manhattan. So pleased you are eating well.

  2. Very impressive views across the river. Had to laugh at that guy, he must have been so tired! 😂xxx

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