It is my first New Year’s Eve in Seoul.
If for New Year’s Eve you are in Seoul, away from family and friends, you have to reinvent yourself, forget about the Rabelaisian meals and the confetti. Without any particular expectation, or elaborated culinary recipes to prepare, this New Year’s Eve has become a totally improvised evening … And yes, it is in Seoul, that we’re brought to do things that we would never have imagined…. That’s the charm of this city!
New Year’s Eve meal
First of all, you just need to be in very good company, with whom to share these great moments… Secondly, festivities require of course to find some foie gras and champagne, leftover from Christmas (thanks to Sali à Séoul), accompanied with fresh sushi and delicious macaroons from Pâtisserie B.
While listening to some good music, here we are talking again about changing the world and about the past year. In a final goodbye, we thank the year 2018 for all that it has brought to us…
Then, the celebrations continue by pushing the door of a cocktail bar, Abyss Bar, unique and intimate, in a beautiful setting of an old Hanok, “only in Korea” style. Sitting at the bar, here we are waiting for the twelve strokes of midnight. In a cozy and convivial atmosphere, people share and exchange among themselves, on how to address their good-year wishes in Korean, English and French. From all around the world!
But the real star of the evening is IRO, the beautiful stray cat enthroned majestically on the bar. As such, he is even entitled to drink water in a cup with his hame on it! He seems the undisputed master of the place. The bar belongs to him and is his favorite playground. He likes rushing on the bar, straight to your glass to catch the spoon while you stir your cocktail.
It was the first time I went to this Hanok Bar, and yet IRO seemed familiar… I had the very clear impression that I had seen him somewhere before. The helpful bartenders were able to tell me more! And what was my surprise to discover that he is probably the brother of the twin cats regularly seen in front of the neighborhood’s Japanese restaurant.
These same cats I had taken a picture of, a year earlier, while they were nicely waiting at the entrance of the restaurant. And guess what? It is this same photo, which is now used to illustrate one of our website’s pages. Are these cat siblings the Kings of the neighborhood? They seem very much appreciated by neighbours, who take good care of them.
We can now hear midnight’s sounds, but we haven’t really finished yet. We still have one more thing to do in order to welcome the New Year.
The first sunrise of 2019
A few hours later, 6:30 AM and -10°C. Year 2019 celebrations continue, but now according to a well-known Korean tradition. Motivated and proud to have not given up to the call of a warm and comfy bed, we left home to chase the first rays of sunshine of 2019, from the peaks of Inwangsan – one of the mountains that overlook the city of Seoul. During our ascent, we walk side by side with the many Koreans who came with family or friends.
Indeed, for Koreans, the solar year begins with the first sun rays too, when they say all the wishes of good health, prosperity and success for the New Year.
After two hours walking, we are back in town, ready to enjoy a hot tea in one of the many cafes that Seoul has. Having celebrated New Year’s Day in Seoul was a unique and exceptional moment that made me want to share it with you.
All our wishes for health, prosperity and success for 2019!
From Seoul, on behalf of Les Françaises Consulting, Cristina