Tag: Korea

Exploring Spain: Madrid

Madrid, my first destination that kicked of my summer Ultimate European Tour. Prior to the touch down in Madrid, all I knew of Spain was Paella, mid-day nap (otherwise known as a siesta), bull fighting, and greeting by kissing on both cheeks. As I walked through the lively streets, I struggled to muster up the 2 years of Spanish that I learned in high school. While I was able to say please, thank you, and where is the bathroom, my limited Spanish skills it did not help me much.

Madrid is the capitol of Spain. With over 3 million inhabitants, it is no surprise why Madrid is known to be one of the most lively, colorful, and historically impressive cities in Europe. With hundreds of historical sites, fun bars, and plenty of 5-star restaurants, it brings in thousands of tourists every year. Culturally, what makes Madrid interesting to most millennials is the mid-day siesta and late meal times.

Culture

Siesta is a middle-of-the-day nap that occurs during the hottest part of the day (12-3pm). In the past it was believed that a short nap during the middle of the day would improve one’s health. Nowadays, people use this time to either rest from work or to get other tasks done. Don’t be surprised of you see many stores closed during the lunch hour! Take this time to catch some Z’s of your own.

Food

The later the better! Yet, my stomach does not agree. In Spain, eating is a special occasion and it should not be rushed. Typically, breakfast is between 8-10 a.m. The largest meal of the day is lunch, which occurs between the times of 2 to 4 p.m. The last and lightest meal of the day is a 10pm dinner AKA. tapas.  Tapas are like a snack. These snacks are often ordered in variation to create delicious dinner arrangement.

Traditional Spanish Paella

Another staple of the Spanish food culture is the Paella. Traditional paella is made out of rice, seafood or meat, vegetables, spices, and sometimes squid ink. The word “paella” is linked to the ancient Sanskrit word “Pa” (to drink). The Paella dish above is a less traditional take, with sausage, chicken, artichokes, and peppers.

Eat at the Oldest Restaurant in the World

Restaurante Sobrino de Botín, open in 1725 as inn and became the world’s oldest restaurant in the world. Botín is famously known for its delicious Castilian cuisine, including it’s award winning suckling roasted pork. Whole pigs are roasted to udder perfection in the restaurant’s brick oven that is over 300 years old.

This is not the cheapest of the restaurants in Madrid, yet you pay for quality and taste! For appropriately 60 Euros, the full-course meal includes: a summer pumpkin gazpacho soup, large cut of the suckling pork with potatoes, and a half-bottle of wine (red or white).

For those who are huge English Literature nerds, you might want to add this restaurant to your must-see list. Botin was one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite restaurants!

Landmarks

The Devil is in Madrid. No, really he is. The statue of the “Fallen Angel” is a unique site for Madrid’s incoming tourists. This 8 foot statue of Lucifer is the only one in the world that is dedicated to the Fallen Angel himself.

Placed in the midst of the Parque del Buen Retiro garden, Lucifer is 666 meters height above the sea level. The statue is set on top of a marble pillar, in the middle of a beautiful water fountain. The fountain is decorated with deep demonic beings and rather striking reptiles. Lucifer is depicting the very moment that he is cast out of Heaven.

Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is titled as the King of Spain’s “official royal residence”, although since 1967 the king as not resided here. Currently, he lives in a more residential home in the western the suburbs of Madrid (Palace of Zarzuela). The official Royal Palace is only used for state meetings, ceremonies, and special events.

The Royal Palace

Korean Rap? 5 BEST Experiences of the Hiphopplaya Festival

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Are you a die-hard fan of Korean Hip-hip like I am? Dok-2, Jay Park, Crush, Dynamic Duo, Hashswan, Tablo and several other Korean hip-hop and R&B artists perform at this yearly music festival at the Nanji Hangang River park (Seoul)! In this post I will tell you the best parts/performances of the Hiphopplaya festival, plus I will add in some much-needed advice for those who attend this festival!

#1. The variety of the artists:

Before the festival starts there is a list (a rather long list) of the artists that will be performing. There is a pleasing mixture of the “Big name” artists such as Dok2, Bewhy, Cjamm, Dean, etc. Yet, what I really love are the small/up-and-coming artist that have the most surprising performances. I end up leaving the festival with a few new rappers/singers that I never knew of before! Some of which I am still a fan of today. CLICK on the link below to see the line up for 2017. hhp 3

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Dean and Crush

#2. Being Close to the Artists!

Depending on how early you get to the festival will depend on how close you can get to the front of the stage. If I do say so myself being near the front of the stage has its pros and cons. Pros: Being able to touch the performers, clear view, more crowd energy, GREAT PICTURES! Cons: The pushing of the crowd, not able to use the restroom, standing for hours. Is it worth it to be close? The answer is yes and no, your answer depends on what you want to get out of the concert.

ADVICE: If you want to clearly see the performances and have Top-notch pictures then be sure to get to the event 2 hours early and DO NOT drink too much water (no pee breaks for you). On the other hand, if you would like to casually listen to the music and sit on that comfy beach towel with some Kimbab, then I would suggest coming at whatever time you would like.

#3. The quality of the performances! (The Hype IS REAL!!!)

It’s time to TURN UP when you are at the HIPPHOPPLAYA FESTIVAL! Wear the comfy-est pair of sneaker that you own because you will be jumping and dancing. Korean artists pour their heart and soul into their performances and you can definitely feel their hard work and creativity. At the 2016 festival, I would give the best performance award to…DEAN. He was singing at the top of his lungs along with some smooth dance moves. The crowd feeds off of each artist energy and it is an experience that is unlike other concerts that I have been to before.

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IIlionaire Gang!

 

#4. Other Festival Activities (Fan signings, merchandise store, food and more)

In addition to the artist’s performances, there are other ‘tents’ that have a variety of merchandise such as concert t-shirts, bags, hats, stickers, bottles and more. They also sold some of the artists older/newer albums as well! I really liked that they had this feature because I like to have keepsakes/memorabilia for my moments of reminiscing. You will also have the chance to meet an artist and have them sign an item. (Sik-k was doing a fan-signing)

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Sik-K fan signing

With such a long festival, there has to be food right? Correct! The food here isn’t your average concert food! There is a pretty good selection of Korean Food trucks that serve a varies of food. Korean pork belly sandwiches, gourmet fried rice, chicken wings, beef tip stir-fry. I am not sure if I was more excited about the food or the music! You definitely have a happy belly.

ADVICE: Traveling on a budget? If you are not looking to spend any extra money on food? No problem. The restrictions on outside food and drinks are expressed, but it is not pressed. I did end up packing a water bottle and 2 rolls of Kimbab in my bag just in case I got hungry, and it came in handy. I would advise to pack any snacks/drinks at the bottom of your bag and place a towel or shirt on top.

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DOK2

 

#5. Meeting other K-HipHop Friends. 

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Concert Buddies

Whether you traveling with a group of friends to the festival or you are a lone wolf the Hiphopplaya festival is a great place to meet new friends. My first time going to the festival, I was going alone. Indeed, I was afraid of going to a concert alone as a foreigner in Korea, but I did not let that stop me from enjoying myself. There are hundreds of foreigners that go to concerts in Korea, at this festival I was supposed to see so many different people! As I was standing near the front of the stage and just minutes before the performances began, I met a stranger from France who shared the same passion for Korean music as I did. We ended up enjoying the whole concerts together and going out to eat after. She became one of my good friends and I even met up with her a year later when she came back to Korea.

ADVICE: DO NOT be afraid to go alone! It could be the best experience that you’ve ever had. Be open, talk to others, and make new friends.

Usually this 6 hour long music festival is held between the late spring/early summer months (April-May).

Visit the Hiphopplaya website for information about the festival, posts and music videos of current and up&coming Korean Rap and R&B artists, and much more: Hiphopplaya Site

Where to buy the tickets? The tickets are usually sold via Interpark or Melon.

Globalinterpark

Global.melon

MORE POSTS:

TRICKEYE Museum: HONGDAE (SEOUL)

Exploring Gwanghwamun Square at Night

From a Small Town Girl to a World Traveler: About Me

 

 

The City of Mokpo and the Bamboo Village

 

There is a calming and serene sensation that you get from the southernmost districts; that feeling of being home and welcomed. While visiting a friend that lived in Mokpo, she was kind enough to take me and her family on a trip around her beautiful sea-side city, as well as the surrounding areas. Mokpo, set on a small peninsula located on the southwest corner of Korea it is known for their bustling seafood markets, city sites, sea-nic views, and sunsets. This city is definitely a must if you are either passing through to get to Jeju island or to visit the southern coast.

Located not too far from Mokpo is Juk-nok-gwan, otherwise known as Bamboo forest park. Walking through a forest of bamboo may sound like a bore, but it is rather unexpectedly interesting. In America, I only saw bamboo when it is small and in little decorative glass vases, but a forest full of bamboo was a different experience indeed. While walking through the park, I felt as if I was in an old Asian warrior movie! With various props and figures that are placed around the park, I definitely had more fun than I thought I was going to have.

For more information about Mokpo and the Bamboo Forest Park please visit:

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1963066

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=815386

The Coolest Museum in HONGDAE (SEOUL): TRICKEYE Museum

 

Things are not as they appear! This especially true for in the case of this odd, yet interesting museum that is smack in the middle of the youthful Hongdae area in Seoul. Hongdae is the hot-spot for all things trendy, fun, party, and booze. Easy to miss, the Trickeye Museum is a major tourist attraction that is sure to leave you with countless devious and mind-blowing photos. By playing with the depth-of-field, hidden objects, and other hidden features this museum is full of backgrounds and props that create an awesome photo.

Getting eaten by a shark? Done. Floating in the air? Check. Being micro-sized with a giant friend? Impossible? I think not. Be sure to check out this place! In the same building, on different floors, there is a Ice Museum and a Love Museum (adults only). There is a discount if you buy a ticket for all three museums, but a ticket for the Trickeye Museum is about 15,000 Won ($13 USD).

For directions and more information, please visit:

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=1324865