View overlooking Jinju

Exploring Jinju

As most of you know, Jared is not the first friend who has come to visit me in Jinju. When Hannah came, I was still new to Korea and didn’t quite know what to do or where to go. But while I’ve gotten to know my city pretty well, there are still a lot of places I haven’t explored yet. Jared’s visit was the perfect opportunity for me to go see some places I’ve wanted to explore.

After leaving Seoul, Jared and I arrived back at my apartment around 1:30 a.m. and immediately went to sleep. Even though I slept for most of the bus ride, I was still exhausted when we got to Jinju.

Jinju Fortress, the Nam River, and Zelkova

Thankfully, the weather was great for the week Jared was in Jinju. Monday I took Jared to the Jinju Fortress. Although I have been to the fortress a few times now, it never gets old. The grounds are beautiful, and it’s nice to just walk along the river and look at the historic landmarks.

Opposite the river, the view is of the city. Jared and I spent some time trying to find my apartment from different vantage points throughout the fortress. I’d say we found it 50% of the time.

Following our trip to the fortress, we stopped for some kimbap and ate it down by the river. The sunshine and warm weather has come to stay, and I plan to eat many more meals outdoors.

Since Jared and I are both in graduate school, we spent time on Monday doing homework. I took him to Zelkova, one of my favorite downtown cafes. The lattes are fantastic, they play excellent music, and the atmosphere is perfect for getting work done. Besides, doing homework with someone always makes it more enjoyable, so I didn’t mind spending a few hours at the cafe.

Cat Cafes and Everything Else

The rest of Jared’s time in Jinju consisted of two things: cat cafes and food. I don’t go out to eat often, but when a friend comes to visit, it’s the perfect excuse to go to every restaurant in Jinju that serves up delicious vegetarian food. We had everything from salads to traditional veganized Korean food. Overall, it was a great week for eating.

My favorite experience of the trip was going to the cat cafe. Even though Kakao Maps gave me some incorrect bus information, we got to the cafe. We only stood on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere for about twenty minutes first.

The cats at the cafe were pretty sleepy for the most part, but some got up and were walking around. One brave cat even jumped onto our table and nearly climbed into my lap before changing its mind.

After three fulls days in Jinju, it was time to say goodbye. Thursday morning Jared and I woke up way too early and took a taxi to the bus stop at 5:15 a.m. He took the 5:40 bus back to the Incheon Airport. Despite the mishaps of lost luggage and angry delivery men, Jared’s trip to Korea was a good one.

Having friends visit in Korea is bittersweet. It’s so nice to see the familiar face of someone who knows you so well, but at the same time, when they leave you’re reminded of just how far away you are from everyone. Despite the emotional rollercoaster I’ve now experienced twice, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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