On our last full day in Gyeongju we were feeling pretty defeated. We had planned to go to a cute brunch and book shop further North only to spend our morning standing in the rain waiting for a bus only to get there and find out it closed. By which point our shoes were soaked through from the heavy rain caused by a typhon at sea. We had planned to go hiking in one of the national forests surrounding Gyeongju or to the World Culture Expo park but we ended up holing up at a cafe, eating bagels for breakfast and drinking tea until we stopped shivering. I hadn’t packed a warmer sweater or a jacket, so we spent most of the afternoon in search of something warmer for me to wear.
Gyeongju’s downtown is filled with cute little botiques and we began popping in and out of them in search of something warm that wouldn’t cost one of my frozen feet. There weren’t a lot of American or international brands we recognized, but one was familiar to my friend, since there was another in Daegu that she liked to shop at. Everything looked cute in the window and after taking a step inside and trying to carefully place my wet umbrella in the umbrella stand, we were promptly kicked out. It was rather shocking to be kicked out for being the “wrong size” when the lady working hadn’t even gotten close enough to see how big or small we were.
Eventually after walking some more and finally gaining the courage to try a different shop we found a thrift store with cheap fluffy sweaters that worked perfectly and we followed that up by searching for dinner.
We settled on a small traditional restaurant named Buhong Galbi, we expected to work on doing our best at our limited to Korean to order some beef to cook, but were surprised by the young women who popped out and spoke to us in English. She explained their policy of a minimum of three servings of meat and asked if that was okay before we even took off our shoes. We found the helpful friendly atmosphere greatly welcoming at the end of our rough day. We ordered their basic beef, the cheapest ones and settled in. Happily eating our fill in the warm environment.
We were asked where we were from and as we finished up our beef the owner quickly jumped up and we were motioned to sit back down as they poured us each cup fulls of homemade Sikhye (식혜), a rice drink served as a dessert. A woman eating on her own nearby cheerfully explained to us that the drink is made from rice. The entire small restaurant felt welcoming and we loved it, it was our favorite meal of the trip.