Today was much better than yesterday.
I got my butt out of bed on time, took my shower, and hit the road for Everland. From the Itaewon area, it took about two hours to get there via Gangnam Station and highway bus. I got there before the park opened, and made a bee line for the back, where what at least one person called The Best Coaster in Korea sits. Did I mention it's freezing cold?
All the coasters and thrill rides were closed in the morning due to low temperatures, similar to my experience at Lotte World. Unlike Lotte, Everland has a ton of other attractions and is really large. This gave me the opportunity to ride pretty much everything else I had on my to-try list. I also spent a good bit of time and energy taking pictures of the fun theming.
I ate a couple snacks at Everland, both chicken by chance. I had read the food wasn't too good so I tried to go the safe route. First, I tried their popcorn chicken. Not bad - it was fresh and hot and tasted like I suppose it should. Later, I picked up some meat on a stick (Koreans love meat on sticks) which turned out to be chicken again, covered in a sticky spicy sauce. It wasn't great but it was good enough.
By 1pm, almost everything was open - except T Express, the impressive wooden coaster. I spent another 90 minutes or so riding the thrill rides and coasters before heading back to catch the bus across the mountain to Suwon.
I had planned to be in Suwon by 3, to have two hours to explore the old palace found there. Correction: I originally planned to be there at nine in the morning, but my fear of crowds at Everland made me switch those plans. In retrospect, I should have gone to Suwon first. But anyway, I didn't get on the bus until around 2:45, and the clock struck four just before I crossed through the palace gates.
The palace is quite large. I spent the full hour I had left before the place closed walking around, looking through the maze of buildings, and taking way too many pictures. There isn't much (actually, there's nothing) inside the palace buildings, but signs describe what each building was and its purpose. The servants quarters had some displays, as did the main building. Have you ever wondered what it's like to climb into a rice box big enough to hold (and suffocate) a prince? You have the chance here.
An entire world of exploring up the mountain was ignored due to time; on a mother trip I might return and explore the additional grounds. I should add that my bus ride took me by the famous temple gate. It was scaffolded for repairs.
Riding buses here can be confusing if you're not sure if you're going the right direction. I picked up a bus I thought was going to Suwon Station, but instead took another hour-long ride to a different train station. From there, it was about another hour until I was back in the vicinity of Itaewon.
I spread my money around on dinner tonight. I started with poutine at a place called The Poutine Factory. Not bad, though I think we have different definitions of gravy going on here. I had the pulled pork poutine and I could taste all the different, great flavors in each bite.
From there I stopped for a bulgogi taquito from Taco Bell - good but not special enough. And then I grabbed some street food. Again I had chicken on a stick with some kind of barbecue sauce - it's basically the same as yakitori back in Japan. I also had a dozen little dumplings. Fried fresh, I basted them with soy sauce and then dipped them in hot sauce for an added kick. Really good without the hot sauce, mind you. But I like spicy.
So that completes my day. It went by fast. My feet are killing me (and I have an abrasion on one of my heels - gonna need a bandaid tomorrow). But it was good. I had a lot of fun and accomplished 98% of what I wanted (except that single coaster).
Tomorrow, yet another theme park (Korea's first - Seoul Land) and the zoo next door if time permits. I'm expecting it will. So until then...