#bunk taksim – Hostel Review

This is right up there as one of the best hostels I’ve ever stayed in. It lives up to the pictures on their website and other people’s reviews. 

 

The decor is new, modern and chic. The ground floor lounge area is good for relaxing, waiting for friends or making new ones. The computer room is also down there. Chatting with staff at the reception desk was nice. All the staff members I encountered there were friendly and helpful. They advised on places to go and things to see. The hostel also puts on its own events in the rooftop bar. 


Jazz band performing in the rooftop bar


Ah, the rooftop bar. It offers a lovely view of the surrounding city. You can hangout inside or outside. There are games to keep you busy, if the bar and  free wifi don’t do that. It’s also here you have their excellent €5 all you can eat buffet breakfast. You should try it at least once. There’s coffee, tea and juice. Yogurt, cereal, jams and fresh fruit. Cheeses, cold meats, salad, boiled eggs, special yummy scrambled eggs, bread…*whew*…and more! 

Breakfast with a view!


I stayed in a 4 bed mixed dorm. It was tight, but sufficient. Equipped with lockers which you secured with your own code on the keypad. The beds were comfortable and the sheets even felt nice! 

Rooftop sunset



Okay, here are some things that were not so good. A couple of the nights I was there it got quite noisy 3/4am. I always have my earplugs so that was okay for me. Wifi in my room on the second floor was temperamental, so I’d have to go outside of my room or downstairs to get connected. The toilets – where you sit is square, which looks quite fancy, but not the most comfortable. There wasn’t soap in the toilet closest to my room for about 3 days. The price of drinks in the bar are as pricey as anywhere in the centre. We were recommended a restaurant around the corner that basically ripped us off. We spoke to a staff member about it when we returned and she said she’d inform the manager.  


Some of those aren’t a huge deal and as I mentioned it is definitely one of the nicest hostels I’ve stayed in. I would stay here again and would recommend it to anyone, I just wanted to give a heads up about those points. Have a great time in Istanbul. It’s a wonderful city to visit. 

Smiles after an evening hanging out in #bunk



~~~The Wandering Pier

A Korean Wedding

First and foremost, please note that I am referring to a Korean version of a western wedding and not a traditional Korean wedding. The traditional Korean wedding was done in private.

When my friend Andrew invited me to this wedding, I was pleased since I’d never been to one. One of my New Years resolutions for last year (and I’ve kept it) was to do at least one new thing every month. In the run up to the wedding, I got introduced to Kate and she was lovely. We hung out a few times and just before the wedding, her then hubby to be had returned from Australia and we had dinner together.

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Fast forward to the wedding day. Andrew and I got our glad rags on and made our way to the hotel lobby. As we entered, there were some beautiful floral displays greeting us. People were elegantly dressed in traditional Korean Hanbok clothing, but most were in western attire. We signed a guestbook and then made a contribution. It’s customary to give money.

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There was a small room in which Kate sat and guests filed in and out for photo opps. She looked absolutely gorgeous. After that was the ceremony. As the music began to play and their family and friends made their way down the aisle. Then came the part that stood out most to me. I was straining to hear everything going on at the alter, albeit in Korean, because there were pockets of conversations dotted all around. As my attention shifted from the alter to my surrounding area, I noted that lots of people weren’t even paying attention! Many weren’t looking at the couple, others were talking with each other and lots were on their phone. Even one of her best friends who sat with us was tapping away on her phone and giggling to herself.

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It was all too much for me. I looked at Andrew with surprise and annoyance. He smiled knowingly. This was his third Korean wedding and the previous two had also been like this, he explained. He filled me in on his first experience and how shocked he was, but he quickly adjusted. After his recounting, I tried to follow suit. Reluctantly.

The lack of sincere gazes and misty eyes. The photographer constantly darting in and out of their faces. Some lady who’s job was to make sure Kate looked perfect at every moment, from every angle… who at the alter in the middle of it all would run in to shift a stray hair, then move the train of her dress this way, then come back and move it that way… who I must share, was wearing a bright pink top, jeans and trainers….yes, that bothered me greatly. All those, along with the constant murmur of voices meant there was a severe lack of the vibration of love in the room for me.

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That took away a lot from the experience. Some of it was redeemed by the heartfelt performance of a song by some of her childhood friends. Her sister also did a little dance routine with her school friends. I’m still not sure it was appropriate for a wedding, but it was really sweet nonetheless.

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Then came a lengthy photography session, which we were invited to be part of. After that came the reception. The food was buffet style and it was fantastic. Korean, Japanese and western dishes graced our plates. During this time the private Korean ceremony took place. Following that, the couple came out to the dining room to individually thank guests for attending. Kate looked stunning in her Hanbok. Seeing the couple dressed in their Hanbok was one of my highlights. We got a few pictures with the newlyweds and said our goodbyes.

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We decided to walk home due to our overindulgence. Then, we had a proper chance to talk and I reflected on the whole experience. It really felt like the part of the wedding we experienced was done just because the western style wedding is the thing to do. It’s like the shell of the idea has been adopted, but the yolk got left behind. That’s not meant to cause offense and of course this is just one experience. Perhaps if people would put down their phones, stop talking to each other and turn their attention to the stars of the day, sincerity and happiness for the couple would resonate more in the atmosphere.

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Yeosu City (여수시)

For my summer vacation (2 days off of work) I ventured down to the southern coast to the city of Yeosu. I didn’t do much research for this trip. I had just heard about the Yeosu Expo last year and then I read about Yeosu as an off the beaten track place to visit on someone’s blog.

When I arrived at the Yeosu Expo Station, I strolled around the expo area for a bit. There’s an aquarium, kayaking and a few cafes around. Then I went to find a motel. I found one that was pretty close and surprisingly cheap given the location ($30 for the night, I think it would have been $40 for the same room for a couple). I dropped my stuff off and went out to explore.

Yeosu Expo Station
Yeosu Expo Station
The Big O
The Big O
Hanhwa Aqua Planet
Hanhwa Aqua Planet

Odong Island was walking distance. The bulwark from the mainland to the island was quite long which was fine for me, but in the heat it felt like a test of endurance. On the island I saw Dragon’s Cave, the lighthouse, a musical fountain and a ground fountain which I took full advantage of in the ridiculous heat and humidity.

Dragon's Cave, Odong Island
Dragon’s Cave, Odong Island
Enjoying the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks and taking in the beautiful view from Odong Island
Enjoying the sound of the waves crashing into the rocks and taking in the beautiful view from Odong Island
Ground fountain- a welcomed cool down zone
Ground fountain- a welcomed cool down zone

Later in the evening, I went back to the expo area to see The Big O light show. The queue was massive and I couldn’t be bothered to join it. Instead, I took a seat under one of the marquee structures and watched the show from there. It was fantastic and that was with an obstructed view. I’d definitely go back to see it seated inside the pavilion area.

The next morning, I headed back to the Yeosu Expo Station to get a ticket for the Yeosu City Tour bus. It cost a mere $5 for this all day tour! There was a guide speaking in Korean and on course 1 we stopped at 6 sights. For two of the stops we had to pay to enter (about $3 each).

Maritime & Fisheries Science Museum
Maritime & Fisheries Science Museum
Turtles at the Maritime & Fisheries Science Museum
Turtles at the Maritime & Fisheries Science Museum
Rocky beach behind the Maritime & Fisheries Science Museum
Rocky beach behind the Maritime & Fisheries Science Museum
Gorgeous view from Hyangiram
Gorgeous view from Hyangiram
Lanterns at Hyangiram
Lanterns at Hyangiram
Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-shin and his Turtle Boat
Statue of Admiral Yi Sun-shin and his Turtle Boat

The scenery while driving through Yeosu and around the islands was gorgeous. I think this trip is worth it if you’re looking for a quiet and fairly cheap little getaway.

New buy, new try: mushrooms

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I have had these in a few dishes since I have been here in Korea, but prior to moving here I had never eaten this type of mushroom. For me, they are super crazy looking! Kinda cute and kinda creepy. I’d never cooked them before, so I thought I would give it a whirl. In the dishes I have had, they were either thrown on the grill while some galbi (marinated meat) was grilling, to have as an accompaniment or in a variety of soups. I just pulled out whatever I had in the fridge and decided to make a quick sweet and sour stir fry. They looked like noodles in the dish to me! I think I definitely prefer them grilled or in soup.

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Does anyone know the name of these mushrooms? Any other recipes that will be great for them?

New buy, new try: Green Tomatoes

Continuing my quest to try something new with every food shop I do. I guess to many, this isn’t something exotic, but it was exciting and interesting for me 🙂

 

The glorious green tomato
The glorious green tomato

 

Green tomatoes are great! I’d definitely buy them again. I ate some raw to see how they taste compared to their more popular ruby siblings. The colour inside was a lovely surprise, I didn’t expect it to be pinky/red. That looked cool against the green. The texture was similar, though I’d say these were a bit more crisp with a lil crunch. The taste was a little tart, which married nicely with the savoury seasoning of the steak that I made with it.

 

Steak and eggs with some sauteed mushrooms and GREEN TOMATOES :)
Steak and eggs with some sauteed mushrooms and GREEN TOMATOES 🙂

 

I think I’d love to make a salsa with it using a mixture of green tomatoes and regular ripe tomatoes. My taste buds agree that this is a good idea. I’m glad I tried them. Green tomatoes >> thumbs up from me.

Recipe ideas/suggestions welcome.