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Travel Bear ~Pokemon World Championship Nashville, TN 2018~

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The Pokemon World Championships happened this last August 24th-26th in Nashville, TN and I was able to go for the first time ever since it was so close. I remember seeing all the posts on social media of the championships in Anaheim, CA in 2017 and thought it looked like such a fun experience. When they announced that this years was less than 2 hours away we knew we had to go.

 

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Entry for the spectator badges was $10 for which you got entry lanyards and 3 booster packs of the latest sets. We found the venue easily and set out to explore. While we walked around everyone was playing Pokemon GO on their phones, there were so many stops and everything was lured the entire weekend. There were also special Pokemon available in that area while the championship was going on for Pokemon GO and the 3DS games.

The Worlds Championship had two main areas: The Pokemon Center and the Tournament room. The Pokemon Center was filled  with exclusive official items that had the Nashville designs, as well as many items that can be found on the online store. It was really cool to be able to see several things in person that I had already been wanting to buy online.

The Tournament room was held in a huge conference room and was filled with tables and chairs sectioned off for each individual tournament. There was TCG (trading card game) championships, VG (video game) Ultra Sun and Moon championships, Pok’ken tournaments and several side events for spectators to take part in. There was areas dedicated to: trading, “Let’s Go Pikachu and Evee” demo playing, coloring stations, roblox building, arcade area and a small food and drink area.

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We walked around to look at everything and to watch different matches. It was really cool to see players from all over the world playing this one game that brought thousands of people together. While we were there we were interviewed by the “Let’s Go Pikachu/Evee” PR team and got to play the demo using the PokeBall controller and we all enjoyed it quite a bit. It was cool watching others watch matches, people were really into it and when they would break out into gasps or applause it was exciting.

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It was a fun experience for all of us on the whole. We were glad to be able to go and see how it went and are thinking more about trying to qualify to play in a future championship. Next years Championship has been announced to be taking place in Washington DC.

Have you ever been to a Worlds Championship? How was your experience? What is your favorite Pokemon? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Travel Bear: ~Wizarding World of Harry Potter~

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My husband and I went to Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter this last February for our 5 year wedding anniversary. We stayed in one of the on site resorts so we were able to enter the park an hour before the public, which was worth it for sure. We got to the park at 8am and were led through the rest of the park to Hogsmead and the Hogwarts area as only that area is open for early admission. Walking up to the little village and train station instantly transport you to the wizarding world and is simply amazing.

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When we entered the village of Hogsmead we walked around, got some good pictures while the crowds were calm from early admission. We headed straight to Hogwarts castle to ride “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” where you are taken on a flying adventure with so much to see, we rode it twice. We even enjoyed waiting in line for  “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” as you get to go through the castle and in each little waiting room there is something to entertain you while you wait. There are moving portraits to listen to and watch, film accurate rooms to marvel at and much more.

One thing I was glad for in the parks is that before every large ride where you can not take your bags (we took a back pack) there are lockers outside of the rides where you can store your stuff for free while you are on the ride. You scan your finger print and then get your locker number, store your stuff away and then after the ride you just go and scan your print again and it opens your locker for you to grab your things and go.

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I could spend all day walking through the shops and looking at every little thing. The shop fronts are amazing and really draw you in. In Hogsmead you have so many amazing things to look at: “Honeyduke’s” where you will find shelves of magical candy and treats, “Dervish and Banges” where you can find a bit of everything from t-shirts to brooms, “Ollivander’s” which is a smaller shop than the one in Diagon Alley but there are all the wands a wizard would want to pick from, “The Owl Post” where you can send mail or purchase stationary and quills, and “Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods” which is the gift shop located at the end of “The Forbidden Journey” where you could spend quite a bit of time looking around at all the odds and ends.

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We grabbed some breakfast at “The Three Broomsticks” which has “Hogs Head Pub” attached to it. You can sit and look at all the interesting decorations while grabbing a bite or a drink.

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In “Islands of Adventure” where Hogsmead and Hogwarts is you have two rides: “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and “The Flight of the Hippogriff” . They are right next to each other so once you get off one head directly to the next one. “The Flight of the Hippogriff” was a simple small track coaster where you get to see Hagrid’s Hut and Buckbeak chilling outside. We went the first week of February and the crowds were not bad at all. The longest we waited in line for anything was 30min but 8 out of 10 rides were much less of a wait time than that.

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You really want to try and go during low crowds because it is so great to be able to really take everything in. When you are in the shops look everywhere, side to side and up and down, there are things everywhere to see. Exploring is such a big part of the experience of the Wizarding World for sure.

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Once you’re done walking around Hogsmead, if you have the park to park pass you can hop on the Hogwarts Express to head to “Universal Studio’s” where you will find Diagon Alley. Riding the Train to and from the two parks was fun and each way you will have a different experience so we found the park to park pass worth the extra cost since we only had one day to do all we could.

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When you get off the train it puts you out into London where you need to look around for the entrance to Diagon Alley. When you walk through the opening and there are buildings looming on each side you are transported to when you first read “The Philosopher’s stone” or saw the movie for the first time. The hustle and bustle of everyone adds to the charm of the area as there are things to see and do all around.

The main ride in this area is “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts” which was a blast, this ride was multi-dimensional with so much to experience. On top of the bank is a dragon that blows fire every few minutes and man can you feel the heat below! You can go next door to the “Gringotts Money Exchange” where you can trade your U.S. Dollars for Wizarding Notes you can use to purchase things around the Wizarding World.

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The Florida heat can bear down even in February so you should stop by “Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor” for some fantastic soft serve or hand dipped ice cream in many fun flavors including ButterBeer Ice Cream!

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Make sure to take the little tour of “Ollivander’s Wand Shop” where a lucky wizard will be chosen by a wand. You can purchase replica wands or interactive wands that can cast spells around the park, each wand is about $50.

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There are many shops to look at in Diagon Alley: get your jokes at “Weasleys Wizard Wheezes”, some dapper robes or dresses at “Madame Malkins Robes for all Occasions”, all your Quidditch needs at “Quality Quidditch Supplies”, find a loving companion at the “Magical Menagerie” and several more shops to explore.

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Make sure to try and catch some of the shows while you are visiting. We got to see “Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees” sing some great tunes and embarrass a lucky person with a serenade.

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In Diagon Alley you can grab a bite at “The Leaky Cauldron” which is where we ate lunch, you can also go by “The Hopping Pot” for your choice of all the wizarding drinks to be had like: Toungue Tying Lemon Squash, Fishy Green Ale, Wizards Brew and many others.

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We took the train back to ‘Islands of Adventure” and got to see the Frog Choir show which was so fun to watch. Besides Celestina’s show and the Frog Choir there is a Triwizard show as well that takes place in the same area as the Frog Choir.

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We sat and relaxed in the middle of Hogsmead as the sun went down and watched the lights come on giving a truly magical ambiance. The Hogwarts light show at night was one of the coolest shows my husband and I have ever seen. Such a wonderful experience to bring our magical day to a close. We headed back to our room which was so easy with the resorts shuttle services.

I could go to the Wizarding world every week and never get bored. We really enjoyed our time there and can not wait to go back.

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Have you ever been to Universal’s Wizarding World? Let me know about your trip in the comments! What house do you claim? What is your favorite treat in the park?

 

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~Travel Bear: Food and Drink at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter~

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure is filled with a treasure trove of amazing eats for sure.  From the shelves of candy straight from the story to the savory food that makes you feel like you are in the UK.

Lets start with the candy. If you’re like me you had dreams of Honeydukes and all the amazing magical candy that Harry and his friends partook in on multiple occasions in the books and movies. The Wizarding World brought to life the magic of wizarding candy with the fairly accurate packaging that makes for great decorations and the many options there is something for everyone. You have your best selling chocolate frogs that come with the collectible card of a famous witch or wizard and a large solid chocolate frog. There are Fizzing Wizzbees that have a pop rock chocolate bee shaped candy, Acid Pops, Exploding Bonbons that are orange and pineapple flavored, Jelly Slugs, Bertie Botts  Every Flavor Beans and so much more. It is so much fun to walk around and look at everything.

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For breakfast my husband and I went to The Three Broomsticks, he got the American Breakfast which had: Fresh Scrambled Eggs, Breakfast Potatoes, Crisp Bacon, and Link Sausage, With Butter Croissant and I got the Continental Breakfast which came with: Assorted Fresh Fruit, Blueberry Scone and a Butter Croissant. Everything we got was very good and fueled us for the day. My husband got a coffee while I tried my first wizarding drink of Pumpkin Juice. I normally don’t like drinks with pumpkin but the Pumpkin Juice was very good and reminded me of a pumpkin pie cider. It was so sweet though and I wasn’t able to finish it all.

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It is seemingly a requirement when your at the Wizarding World to try the Butterbeer. There are three different ones to try: Chilled, Frozen and (sometimes during the year) hot. We got the chilled butterbeer which was sweet and tasted of butterscotch with a thick creamy foam on top that makes it a very enjoyable experience. Many people try to get every kind but after one I was sugared out for the rest of the day.

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For lunch we ate at The Leaky Cauldron and as my drink I got the odd Fishy Green Ale which was mint and cinnamon flavored drink with blueberry popping boba in the bottom. My husband tried the Dragon’s Scale Beer which was a nice pairing with the savory British style food we got.

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My husband got the Fish and Chips which was very tasty and I got the Toad in the Hole lunch plate that consisted of English sausages baked into a Yorkshire pudding with brown gravy and some roast vegetables. I really liked everything and would order it again for sure. There were several options from: Shepard’s Pie, Fisherman’s Pie, Banger’s and Mash and several other things that all looked tasty.

In the Wizarding World you have many options to dine in at or get treats to walk around with. There are: several types of beverages you can get, ice cream scoops,  soft serve, churros, pretzles, lots of English food, savory and sweet options galore. The next time we go we will try new things to really have a new experience every time we go.

Have you been to the Wizarding World? What was your favorite thing to grab for lunch? Which Butterbeer was your favorite? Did you have a favorite ice cream flavor? Let me know in the comments!

 

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~Travel Bear: Toothsome’s Chocolate Emporium at Universal’s City Walk~

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So this past week I celebrated my 5 year wedding anniversary with my Husband by going to Orlando, Florida for a few days. We drove in from Northern Alabama and got to where we were staying (The Cabana Bay Resort) around dinner time. I had found this amazing place at Universal’s City Walk called the Toothsome’s Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen that gave me Wonka Steam Punk feels and knew that would be our first stop on our Anniversary adventure.

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The factory look of the restaurant was so neat and the decor was Steam Punk inspired with lots of cools things to look at while you are being led to you table and as you sit. There were so many options for food, drinks and of course massive decadent desserts.

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I ordered the Vegetable Press which was a warm sandwich with roasted vegetables, portobello mushrooms, arugula pesto, gruyère and dill harvarti cheeses, on cranberry herb artisan bread. It was so good! Everything about my food was amazing and delicious. My Husband ordered the Vegetable Garganelli that had italian penne pasta, seasonal vegetables, garlic, and white wine. We could have shared either one of these dishes as they were fairly large and filling and so so good.

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As we sat eating and enjoying the atmosphere we watched some of the most glorious desserts going by, milkshakes with cupcakes and cookies out the top, chocolate everything and so much more. If you want to come here for just dessert there is an area you can do just that!

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Attached to the restaurant is a amazing gift shop/sweet shop. There was countless artisan chocolates, macarons, cakes and other sweet things in cases you can get to take back to your hotel or to enjoy right there. There are t-shirts, packaged candy and steam punk accessories to buy as well. It is lots of fun to really walk around and look at everything in detail.

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Going to the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium was definitely the right way to start our adventure and we will for sure go here again.

 

 

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January 2018 Update

Hi everyone! I hope everyone has had a good year so far and are making lots of good goals and plans for this new year. I know I myself have been taking the first few weeks of the new year to think about what I want to accomplish and goals to set.  I am in the process of redesigning my website look and how things are set up for a better viewing experience.  I have a lot of plans this year!

In the next few weeks I have a list of reviews I will be putting up and streams I will be planning. Here are a few of the things I plan on reviewing in the next bit:

Anime:

  1. A place further than the Universe
  2. Sanrio Boys
  3. School Babysitters
  4. Junji Ito Collection
  5. Citrus
  6. Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san

 

Video Games:

  1. Horizon Zero Dawn
  2. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  3. Pokemon Moon

 

Games I am planning to stream:

  1. Life is Strange
  2. The vanishing of Ethan Carter
  3. What remains of Edith Finch
  4. Stardew Valley

 

I am also going to be doing a lot of crafting soon and may do tutorials for various things. I am planning on opening a little shop in the near future and also have a few awesome travel videos and tips and trick videos/articles that I will be working on very soon.

Is there anything you think I should check out or do? Let me know in the comments!

~Travel Bear~ Namsan Tower and Love Locks

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The second full day in Seoul we got up early and walked about a block or two from our hotel to the lift heading to the main area that takes you too N Seoul Tower also known as Namsan Tower.

105 Namsangongwon-gil, Yongsan 2(i)ga-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea

 

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You buy your tickets to the cable car that takes you up the mountain to the tower which were about $8 if I remember correctly.

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Once you get up the Mountain you take a few stairs and come across a side area outside that is filled with “Love Locks” these are locks that couples or friends will write their names on it and then lock it to one of the rails or lock trees then throw the key away.

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For $8 I bought a lock that they were selling and wrote my husbands and my name on it as a symbol that our love was forever.

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After leaving the lock area you go up a few more steps to a large outside courtyard that has many beautiful trees, flowers, pagoda type gazebos and lots of great picture spots.

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When you go into the tower there is a concession stand where you can get several different types of popcorn, fried squid, roasted yams and a few other snacks you can get and then go to the top and eat while you look out over the city. When you get on the elevator that takes you to the top you look up and there is a screen that makes it look like your in a rocket and it blasts you into space as you go up. It is a cool thing to do for sure!

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Once your at the top you can walk around the entire thing and look out over Seoul and see mountains surrounding you on all sides just about. There are binoculars you can use to see farther as well. At the top of the tower there is a candy shop, gift shops and a few more cool picture spots.

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We thought it was funny when we went into the bathroom and the whole side on the stall was just glass looking out. You could hear girls go into the stall and gasp slightly when they saw the window.

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There were lots of neat shops inside the tower as well as a Hello Kitty Museum and Hello Kitty Store. Lots of souvenirs to choose from and lots of great memories to make.

Have you ever been here? Do you want to? Tell me about your visit or why you want to go here in the comments!

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~Travel Bear: Lotte World in Seoul, South Korea~

 

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On my first full day in Korea my friends and I went to Lotte World located at:  240 Olympic-ro, Jamsil 3(sam)-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea. It is a partially inside and outside amusement park that has some cute similarities to the Disney Parks in the U.S.. 

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We went on October 7th, 2016 and I was very surprised to see so much Halloween decor everywhere. I knew Halloween was not celebrated as much outside of the U.S. but Lotte World brought out all the stops when decorating for Halloween. There were pumpkins and witches galore and everything had a bit of a cute touch to it!

Our Tickets for the day which are normally about $50 we got for about $23 using a coupon on our phones. I was so amazed that we could get tickets for so cheap!

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On the inside of the park is a large ice skating rink and several floors filled with rides, games, stores and lots of food places and kiosks filled with lots of things. There was a little monorail that went above the park and several rides like: a pirate ship, a Sinbad ride that reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean, A full loop ride, several kids rides and so much more.

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You can exit the inside to head to the other half of the park where there are many more rides and a cute little castle. At the time I went, they were having a zombie island attraction and many little horror themed areas. If you go to Lotte World you want to download the park app on your phone and you can get early passes for the rides. You have a few passes for your visit and you have to be quick to get the times you want for the more popular rides.

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There was so much different food in the park: Hot Dogs, Jajang myeon, Chicken, Kebabs, Pizza, Ice Cream, Cookies, Hamburgers, Udon and Tankatsu plus so much more! I was surprised to see such an array of things from all over the world. I was also glad to see that the prices were not crazy and very affordable compared to an American park where they gauge the price of food like crazy.

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While we were there we got to see the special Halloween Parade which was so fun to watch. There was so many floats, dancers and lots of cool costumes. I videoed the entire thing and will be posting it on my youtube shortly.

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I had a fun day at Lotte World and would defiantly go back in a heart beat. Have you ever been or want to go? Let me know what your favorite part was or what you look forward to the most?

 

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Travel Bear: Korean Food

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On the first night I arrived in Korea I spotted a little street stall outside my hotel that had all sorts of fried foods and ttopokki. I grabbed a fish cake stick and a few fried vegetables, they were so good and I was so happy to finally be eating in South Korea!

 

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The morning after I arrived in South Korea I wanted to hit a Korean Bakery right away. My friend and I found a Paris de’ Baguette Bakery and grabbed a quick breakfast before we went to Lotte World. There were so many different pastries and sandwiches to choose from. I got a crab croquette, a bacon egg wrap and a more traditional red bean bun. I love the Korean Bakeries because you just walk in, grab a tray and tongs and just pick out whatever you want.

 

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I was looking forward to Korean BBQ so much I can not even convey! My favorite food is Samgyeopsal so my friends took me to a very famous BBQ joint in Myeongdong. We ordered Soju, Cass Beer (for Somek), Ogyeopsal (it is 5 layer pork belly instead on where Samgyeopsal is 3 layer) a few other meats, cold noodles and Kim Chi Jigae.

 

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The Kim Chi Jigae was so good! It was kind of sour and spicy and it just warmed you right up in the chilly rainy weather. My friends were surprised that I liked it. They worry that as a foreigner the spiciness level would be too much but it was perfect!

 

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I requested to try some cold noodles which I had seen in many videos and to me it seemed a little odd because in North America we really don’t have any dishes like that. It was very interesting and I think in the Summer heat it would be very refreshing.

 

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Fried chicken is VERY popular in Korea! My friends and I went to Hongdae to a fusion restaurant for a fried chicken alla panna dish that was so good. It was cheesy, bready and delicious!

 

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While we were in Hongdae I found a Honey Comb Ice Cream place and had to grab one, it was so tasty with fresh honey comb.

 

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I was so happy to come across the Hello Kitty Cafe in Hongdae, the building was so cute and everything was pink and Hello Kitty to the max. We ordered a Hello Kitty Chocolate Mousse, a Green Tea Latte, a Mocha Latte and a Iced Latte. It was all good but a little on the pricey side.

 

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We went to the movies while I was in Korea and at the concession stand they had fried squid! That seems weird to me but it was so good!

 

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I went to the oldest Korean Market in the Country called Gwangjang Market in Seoul and got the well known Miyak (drug) kimbab that is so good it is addictive hence the name and ttoppokki  which was so soft and spicy and sweet all at the same time!

 

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I also tried Soondae which is also known as Blood Sausage, this was one of the items in Korea that is very odd to North Americans. I was willing to try anything at least once but I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty good. It is a sausage made with glass noodles and blood and a few other things, it doesn’t taste like you would think.

 

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I tried a chicken foot which was on the odder side of all the things I ate in Korea. Would I eat it again? Probably not.

 

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Fish cake soup which was warm and tasty! A perfect Fall/Winter dish.

 

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No matter where you go you will usually always have some form of Kim Chi and side dishes put in front of you.

 

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Went to the Dunkin Donuts and tried a chewy cappuccino donut, an egg tart and a creamed corn donut which was very odd, it tasted like a donut filled with a sweet butter and corn. There is corn in alot of things in Korea.

 

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I found a CocoCurry in Insadong and nearly squealed with joy. I got a Omurice Curry with chicken alfredo and oh my gosh it was so good and filling. I could have shared that dish with two other people, there was so much!

 

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I had to grab these little nut pastries while walking around Insadong, the man was so nice and gave me some of each to try. They were so yummy, it was a soft sweet bread with a nut paste and nut inside each, they were addicting!

 

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Went to a traditional Japanese Tea house in Insadong and tried some traditional Korean Tea Omija which was very sour and bitter but an interesting fruity taste, I also tried some Honey cakes that were very sweet and heavy and Hangwa which reminded me of a packing peanut almost ha ha they were good though and I could see them as a good snack.

 

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I had to try some more common fried chicken and oh boy, They can make some fantastic fried chicken in Korea, there were these tasty sweet chili sauces and seasoned salts to eat it with, along with refreshing radish pickles and Mango Lingo, a mango flavored beer that was surprisingly really really good.

 

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Stopped in at another Korean BBQ place in Insadong and got some Garlic Samgyeopsal and Pig Skin which was very chewy and odd. They gave me so many side dishes and soups and dipping trays, every bite could have a different flavor.

 

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Had to try a Korean style pizza at Dominos so my friend and I got abuck wheat crust shrimp pizza, it was very different than most of the pizzas we have in North America but it was tasty and I would def eat it again!

 

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We went to a cafe and I tried my first Sweet Potato latte, It was so good and filling! I need this in the U.S.! My friend got a cheese cake frozen yogurt that was divine! So good and sweet!

 

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My friends family took us out to a Galbi restaurant in Gwangju and there was so much meat and it was marinated perfectly. It was an amazing meal and I got to learn about a few different kinds of Kimchi like Mul Kimchi which means water kimchi so it was like pickle juice in a way but not as vinegary.

 

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My friend made us a Korean Breakfast consisting of rolled omelet, miso soup, rice and kimchi sides.

 

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In Yeosu (a city by the sea) we went on there cable cars and got some fried squid around the attraction and my 4 friends and I were in Heaven, it was the best fried squid we had ever had and it was in an odd place.

 

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We dropped by at a Fish market and picked out a few fish that they took upstairs and prepared for us right away. The  market ladies also threw in some fresh raw scallops and sea squirts. The Sea squirt (the orange thing in the middle) was the only nasty thing I had in Korea, would not eat again but glad I tried it at least. The fresh Sashimi and all the side dishes were so good, it was a once in a life time meal that I got to share with many wonderful friends.

 

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We also had a fish stew that was spicy, fishy, and so so good. It was a nice finishing course to the feast we had.

 

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I bought us all a cake at a cafe to share to celebrate a wonderful day in Yeosu with wonderful people.

 

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We had another homemade Korean breakfast made by my friend. We had Kimchi jigae, cheese sausages and red bean rice. A perfect start to the day!

 

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I had to try the Bulgogi Burger while I was in Korea and it was odd. It was like a normal burger with just the patty and a bulgogi sauce all over it and onions.

 

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Tasty seasoned meat and grilled Kimchi in Daejeon! It was soo good and all you could eat too.

 

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My friend in Daejeon took me to a cute little popular restaurant where we got Bibimbap, Jajang Myeon and Fried Pork Cutlet. Everything was tasty and the little place had a fin simple mod feel to it.

 

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On the last day with my friend in Daejeon we went to a Japanese place and I got a Don Katsu bowl that was amazing but so filling!

 

I ate so much amazing food in Korea, there were several more things besides all of these that I was just too busy eating to take pictures! Everywhere you go in Korea are endless Street Food stalls, BBQ places and unique and fun restaurants.

What is your favorite Korean Foods? Have you eaten any of the things I took pictures of here? Let me know in the Comments!

Heading to Korea ~Day 1~

This was my first day of adventure heading to South Korea! I went from Birmingham, AL to Dallas,TX then to Narita, Japan and finally to Seoul, South Korea. It was such a long day and I went through 4 airports and was on a plane for a total  of around 21 hours.

I flew with American Airlines and Japan Airlines and let me tell you, Japan Airlines is fantastic, the hostesses were so caring and attentive to make sure the flight was as comfortable as it could be. The food was good and man did they keep on feeding you.

It was so great to see my friend in South Korea, we hadn’t seen each other in over 7 years! The moment I entered South Korea I fell in love with the Country.

Stay tuned for many more videos about my adventures, tips and tricks and much more!

~Back from South Korea~

Whew, So I have been back from South Korea for less than two days and let me tell you jet lag is real. I had such a fantastic time over there and have so many pictures, videos and stories to share. I will be working on getting lots of fun and interesting posts up soon so be on the look out.

I learned a lot over there about the best ways to travel around and tips and tricks to make your trip easier all around. During my trip I flew on two different airlines, stayed in 4 different guesthouses and hotels and went to 7 different cities. I went to so many attractions and ate so many things.

Can’t wait to share with you all!