After enjoying our unique lunch experience at the Tong-in Market's Dosirak Cafe, Junho, Hyunsung and I walked off our lunch to have coffee near the Insa-dong area. Hyunsung's cousin, Woong-cheol has a cafe around that area.
From Tongin-dong in the Jongno District, we headed to the Insa-dong area by walking behind the Gyeongbuk Palace. At the back of the Palace is actually the Blue House, the official residence of the president of South Korea, and as expected, this area is tightly guarded. I remember passing through this Cheonghwadae area a couple of autumns ago after coming from Michael and Sara's home near the Jahamun area, where I had lunch. And today, coincidentally, after another lunch, I was passing through this area again.
(Tourists taking pictures of the Blue House)
As we entered the guarded area, we were stopped by the policemen on duty, who asked to check our bags and the reason why we were walking towards the Blue House. Sadly, they forgot to ask how our lunch was. Or what we ate. Ha-ha-ha!
When we got to the 'photo spot' in front of the Blue House, there were a lot of tourists already busy posing and clicking away. We joined them for a few minutes and noticed that the three of us were the only Seoulites in the pack. The rest were tourists! Junho said that locals don't usually venture into this tightly guarded area in Cheonghwadae to take pictures. But today, three strayed from the main road. Ha-ha-ha!
(Pink flowers and a house colored blue)
We wandered through the alleys of Samcheong-dong before ending up across the northern end of Insa-dong on our quest to find Hyunsung's cousin's coffee shop. To find it, we simply crossed the street and walked towards that street behind Jogyesa Temple. And when we got there, the coffee shop looked familiar. I have been here before!
Cafe Jass is right behind Somerset Palace Seoul, a hotel where friends JK and Ruth used to live. Our friends used to have parties there and one occasion when I visited Ruth, she took me to Cafe Jass.
And as we were enjoying our coffee (and the cheese cake on the house!), Woong-cheol, the owner of Cafe Jass, started roasting his coffee beans and the delightful aroma of the beans filled the coffee shop, which then seemed to have awakened the senses of everyone in the room. It was already mid-afternoon by the time we were able to rest our legs from walking off our Dosirak Cafe lunch at Tong-In Market, passing behind Gyeongbukgung and in front of the Blue House, and ending at a coffee shop next to Jogyesa Temple.
What started off just as a hungry quest to experience the Dosirak Cafe ended up as a day-tour around the Jongno District and, well,...a blog! And thanks to my good amigos, Junho and Hyunsung, the Blue House and Cafe Jass were indeed worth the stroll.