Springin' around Seoul Day 3: Nami Island and Petit France

Today was the day we were heading to Gapyeong. I had tried to book the Nami shuttle from Insadong, but it was way too packed, hence we had no choice but to go all the way to Gapyeong by the normal train. It took us almost 1.5 hours there. I'd heard of the express train, but since I didn't book it beforehand, there were no slots available till later in the evening.

We started our day off with a cuppa at Cafe Comma. I lived at the apartment just above Hongdae subway station exit #3 and Cafe Comma was right below our apartment. It was a really cool book cafe and it was always packed (except of course in the wee hours of the morning). I do regret not hanging out there often enough, especially on the one day that I was alone. (I actually lazed in my room watching Running Man instead. Shaking my head at my priorities.)

Once at Gapyeong station, we took a cab and headed for the ferry wharf to catch the ferry to Nami Island. The journey was quick and relatively cheap. Don't recall paying more than 5,000krw for the journey there. We could have waited for the Gapyeong shuttle, but after being on the train for so long, we were kinda tired and just wanted to get to Nami Island as soon as we could. Once there we got our foreigner tickets (which were cheaper at 8,000krw) and made our way onboard.

I've never been to Nami Island before, so I had quite a bit of expectations for the place. Unfortunately, I felt the place was pretty underwhelming. It is incredibly small and less picturesque than I had imagined. Maybe it would have been better to head back in fall when the leaves are hues of red. The island was also flooded with tourists. We were lucky we headed there a little earlier, so the tourists only came in when we were about to leave. We walked around for a bit, but didn't quite bother with locating all the Winter Sonata filming locations.

As we had plans to head to Petit France, we didn't spend long at Nami Island and headed back to the wharf to have a meal before catching the Gapyeong shuttle. When at the wharf, what we noticed was that almost all the restaurants sold one dish - Dakgalbi. Dakgalbi, which is essentially chicken ribs with vegetables, rice cake and potatoes pan-fried with a seasoned hot pepper sauce, is a Chuncheon speciality. And since we were in the region, we had to try it!

Thankfully too, they had a non-spicy version as my mother doesn't take well to spicy food. We ordered two portions of non-spicy Dakgalbi, some Naengmyeon (cold noodles) and my favourite Chilsung cider. It was pretty funny how  my mother picked up that in Korea, they don't call it Sprite/7-Up, but call it cider instead. After a while, during meals she'd say "Can we order the cider too?".

Once we were done, we walked outside and waited for the Gapyeong shuttle. As everyone else queued pretty early, we couldn't get seats and had to stand throughout the whole 20-minute ride from Gapyeong Wharf to Petit France. The journey was incredibly bumpy as it went up, down and around various hills. My recommendation would be to queue early to ensure you get a seat. We got so dizzy on the way up that we decided not to wait out for the shuttle when heading back, and opted to cab back to Chuncheon instead.

Petit France was another underwhelming place. (Carolyn had warned me the day before actually. But since I was already in Gapyeong, I might as well have gone.) It is a pretty place but it is very small and relatively poorly maintained, with paint peeling off the buildings at some areas. Nonetheless, having watched My Love from Another Star prior, the place did have some meaning to both my mother and I. (My mother is an absolute K-drama fan, and loves it when I point out filming locations.) Asiana ticket holders get a small discount, so if you flew by Asiana, please bring your ticket stub!

By now we were absolutely tired out. Travelling across the country via train and standing throughout the whole journey is no joke. (Reminds me of the almost-daily East-to-West commute I made in my university days.) We made our way back to our Hongdae apartment, rested for a bit and headed out for a quick Jajangmyeon dinner at Hongdae. Cheap, good and value for money.

Cafe Comma/카페꼼마
Seopo Building (First Floor), Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Nearest subway station: Hongdae station (Exit #3)

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