As the coach of Koreas National treasure, Yuna Kim, I have had the great opportunity to travel to Korea for work with her.
We have trained at the Lotte World park, competed at the 4 continents championship, and performed in various shows with Festa on Ice and Ice all stars. Each experience an opportunity for me to discover more about Korea, in particular, Seoul.
I feel a special connection to Korea and some what thankful for giving the skating world such a special talent and role model for all Koreans. I admire how the traditions of old Korea mingle with the progressive culture of today. I feel that the new is welcome without forgetting of the past. It is vibrant, exciting and is in the leading the way for technology, music, and now....figure skating.
Following the Olympic Games in Vancouver, Yuna and I along with the other members of the Olympic team had the honour to visit with the president and his wife for a lunch at the "Blue House" It was truly a day of pride, and the hospitality we were extended was very much appreciated.
The property, and gardens are beautiful and it was a privilege to witness first hand, especially with such a successful group of young athletes. I am lucky to have friends in Seoul to show me around, and one of my favourite spots is Samchung Dong.
It is interesting because of the wonderful art galleries, beautiful manicured street, and the diverse selection of food. It has a very "hip" feeling and great to spend an afternoon looking at art followed by a nice meal.
If I am in the mood for shopping...I find Myung Dong a great place for anything you may be looking for. It is here that you can see how the culture of the youth are making their mark. Great fashion, stylish individuals and a wonderful energy.
Speaking of energy....Iteawon is a hot spot. My friends have taken me to this vibrant part of Seoul to experience the exciting night life. Great music, high energy, and a must see on every trip to Seoul. All of these places are easy to access by the metro. The metro is safe, clean and easy to understand. Chances are....you will see an advertisement by Samsung,or Nike, or Milk with Yuna Kim on it!!
Another great way to spend an afternoon is to just walk along the Han river.
It goes right through the city and the view is spectacular from both sides. On one of my visits to Seoul, I took a side trip to Jeju Island. I spent 5 days on the magical Island. I was amazed with the rugged landscape and the volcanic rock that makes this Island. I love the sea, and this Island has some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen.
I stayed at two wonderful Hotels...the Hyatt Jeju and the Shilla Jeju. Both had fantastic views, great hospitality and the best breakfast I have ever had! I took a day and rented a car and drove the entire Island.
If you are a green tea enthusiast, this is your place! Being on the sea, the seafood was fresh, local, and fused with the Korean flavours. Be it the sea food or traditional bbq, the Korean menu is delisous and healthy.
Most of all, this is the home of Yuna. I now know why she is so proud to call Seoul and Korea her home.
Now that I am an Honorary Citizen of Seoul.... I too am proud to call this my 2nd home.