I really like Seoul. Quite apart from my favorite bit of Korean culture, this is a city that appeals to me because it’s full of art, live-music, and some of the coolest cafes I have ever come across serving some fine coffee (charcoal roasted anyone?).
I’ve been staying in the area surrounding Hongik University which, as you might expect, has a really relaxed and youthful atmosphere. There are cafes, avant-garde galleries, bakeries, restaurants, shops, boutiques, and Korean barbecue houses everywhere.
It’s still quite hot in the daytime, perfect weather for sitting outside at a cafe and engaging in a spot of people watching. While doing so, I’m struck at how stylish many of the people seem to be here. In many ways, this city, or at least the area around Hongdik University, reminds me of the hipster streets of Melbourne with the cafes, fixie bikes, skinny jeans, and live-music scene. But Seoul’s rich art and coffee culture is no cheap Asian ‘knock-off.’ It’s got some truly unique tweaks that make it more than a little interesting. My favorites are their enthusiasm for customized scooters and strange fold-up bikes.