Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
After having a relaxing evening dining out and celebrating our wonderful 6-month anniversary, Michelle and I set off on a quick trip from her home in Namyangju to Chuncheon the following day.
As much as I would have liked to hike and bike around the mountains surrounding Chuncheon, it was certainly not the most opportune time to do so, and it will have to be saved for another day when the weather is much more pleasant. It was pretty hot and muggy last Saturday afternoon, and despite the forecast for rain later in the day, it didn’t stop us from having a positive disposition during the train ride. I had been wanting to check out Chuncheon for quite a while, so I was a bit anxious to arrive. The blue sky could barely be seen through the clouds and dense fog, but I was convinced we would have enough time to take a stroll through Chuncheon, eat some “Chuncheon Dakgalbi” – the town’s specialty dish, and simply relax. To our enjoyment, we did just that.
During the train ride, both Michelle and I were itching for some good coffee, so I suggested we attempt to find a coffee-roasting cafe in Chuncheon where we could have a nice cup of coffee and relax while figuring out what we wanted to do. Michelle searched and quickly found a pretty cool coffee-roasting cafe near Chuncheon station: Chosen Coffee.
At first glance inside Chosen Coffee, it immediately reminded me of a vintage 1970’s cafe. it was definitely one of most unique cafes that I had ever visited. Not only that, but I was also quickly able to feel how incredibly peaceful it was inside; I could have stayed there all day. The young, super outgoing owner greeted us and then swiftly took our order; it was truly service with a smile. While our coffee was being brewed, Michelle and I meandered around the cafe and discovered many interesting oddities that made us chuckle. With coffee in hand, we sat down in the newly upholstered orange-leather sofa-style chairs and relaxed while attempting to figure out what we wanted to do. We knew that we wanted to have some awesome Chuncheon dakgalbi, so I asked the owner if he could point us in the right direction. He graciously showed us where to go:
Even though this superb Dakgalbi restaurant was situated on the other side of town, it didn’t bother Michelle and I one bit. In fact, it gave us an initial chance to get a better feeling for Chuncheon by cruising through it’s city center and around the outskirts of town. Our friendly, yet garrulous taxi driver kindly asked me where I was from and then began to explain that there are many foreigners that have come to live in Chuncheon over the last 5-10 years. I was able to subtly understand why – Chuncheon appeared to be a quiet, pleasant, and relaxing town. In all honestly, I could live there.
Chuncheon dakgalbi was delicious and it was great to visit the city from where it originated. Dakgalbi is a dish generally made by stir-frying marinated diced chicken in a gochujang (chili pepper paste) based sauce with sliced cabbage, sweet potato, scallions, onions, ggaennip (sesame leaf), and tteok (rice cake). Chuncheon dakgalbi is considered hotter than what one can get at most other cities around Korea, but it (above) wasn’t too hot to handle; in fact, it was just perfect.
After dakgalbi, we headed to the shores of the ring-shaped lake surrounding Chuncheon and came across a cafe (“caff”) that Michelle felt the urge to enter.
Michelle and I were still quite stuffed from lunch, so this cafe helped us to rest our stomachs and have some good laughs. One laugh in particular came from when I noticed that the cafe’s table-condiment holders looked like miniature toilets. If you can imagine, I was immediately put off on even touching the food on these things. It definitely brought a good laugh. Don’t they look like toilets?!?
After the cafe we took a subtle stroll along the lake and noticed the rain clouds just beginning to arrive in the distance. We knew we still had a little time to take a stroll.
With the smell of rain in the air, it was time to peace out after our riverside stroll.
Chuncheon was definitely a quiant, quiet, and relaxing town, and I’d really like to return during the Spring/Fall to have some more dakgalbi and enjoy the weather that would be greatly in our favor.