Seoul, the (unofficial) capital of coffee?

Some say Seattle is the capital of coffee shops, since it’s the home of Starbucks and you can find coffee everywhere. We’ve never been to Seattle (so far), but I think we at least found a competitor. But let’s start from the beginning.

Today we just wanted to stroll around the city, getting to know it better. We ended up doing a 23-25 km (even with a GPS logger we’re not 100% sure due to some underground travels) walk/hike through Seoul, going up from 10 m above sea level to 266 m at the foot of Seoul tower (with several up and down intermissions).

We saw all kinds of neighborhoods, quite wealthy ones and very poor ones, both regarding living arrangements and shopping areas. It seems that half of the city is paved with coffee shops, you can’t turn a corner without running into one. Some areas even have up to five coffee shops literally next to each other. You have to assume that the whole city is on a caffeine rush. The other half of the city is under construction.

I’ve got a theory about this. Seoul has a lot of coffee junkies, that’s for sure. But when too many of these extra-strong-tripple-ristretto types with a personal warp field gather in one building, it just fades out of the time-space continuum. And thus they have to build new ones.

We seriously had a hard time getting some coffee, not because we couldn’t find one, but because there are too many choices. Like you can’t walk through a Japanese city without running into a vending machine every few meters, it’s the same with coffee shops here. Of course we got some coffee after some time, but believe me, that wasn’t easy. One was at a shop that claimed to have the best burgers in the city. We decided to continue the tradition from our last trip and get some burgers for our first dinner out.

And after a long search we finally stumbled over Starbucks (but didn’t go in). You would guess that there are more of them here, but probably they can’t get a hold around here with all those other small coffee shops. By the end of our week week here we’ll either warp to Okinawa ourselves or fall asleep in the plane as soon as we leave the caffeine aura here.

In a total unrelated note, we got on top of Seoul Tower in the Namsan Park, visited the Namdaemun street and underground market and saw a lot of urban and downtown Seoul (with a lot of coffee shops).

Tomorrow we’ll report about our visit to the Seodaemun Prison… maybe… well, if they let us out again.

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