Top 14 things to see & do in Seoul, South Korea

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The capital of South Korea, Seoul, has a fantastic mix of old and new, with great food and amazing sights across the city. The capital has a great many things to do, and today we take a look 14 great places to visit and see in Seoul.

1) Korea Furniture Museum: a bit of an unusual attraction to start, but this museum has over 2000 pieces of traditional furniture, which help you get a real sense of a traditional Korean lifestyle and culture. It’s a great way to spend some time looking at the Korea of old.

2) Insadong: This is a great insight into South Korean culture. The district is home to lots of shops, teahouses and market style booths. Along with this, is many great art galleries and restaurants, a place perfect to eat and drink to your hearts content, and pick up a few souvenirs along the way.

3) Bongeunsa: The temple of Gangnam is a calm place, right in the heart of the city; offering a beautiful and contrasting view between the traditional houses and the modern skyscrapers.

4) Gyeongbokgung Palace (GP): GP is the largest grand palace in Seoul and a must see. It’s a huge complex, and it’s a great idea to leave a few hours to explore the palace properly. Picturesque gardens surround the palace, intricate designs adorn it, and if you wear traditional Korean clothing, you get free entry.

5) Eating in the city: Korean food has seen a recent rise, so in typical fashion, eating in the city is a must do. The best thing to do is to wing it, that means walk around town and eat at wherever takes your fancy. The more locals you see at the restaurant, the better!

6) Jogyesa Temple: Amongst the skyscrapers in the city is this little Buddhist temple. Filled with artwork, statues and figurines, the temple is a spot of quiet amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

7) Myeongdong: This is known as one of the best streets for shopping in Seoul. It’s a great spot for souvenir shopping and it’s a fantastic place to wonder with an open mind and wallet!

8) N Seoul Tower: If you want an aerial view of the city, then the N Seoul tower is where you want to go. Watching the city transform from the day into night is an amazing view, and one we definitely recommend. Book your spot before sunset to capture the transformation of the city!

9) Bukchon Hanok Village: BH Village is a traditional Korean village, and the perfect way to step back in time to a Korea centuries ago. You can look in the houses and pop into tea houses for traditional rice tea. There’s also a lot of cool shops in the area, and taking the time to weave in and out of the stores and houses is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the city.

10) Changdeokgung Palace: The palace is a real must see in Seoul due to its history and heritage; so much so, that it’s been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, with elements dating back from the three kingdoms period (57BC to 668AD). When visiting, be sure to check out Huwon, the secret garden. This can only be seen via a tour that is pre-booked, but do leave plenty of time to explore the beautiful secret gardens after you visit the palace.

11) Hangang Park: Located by the banks of the Hangang River, the park has open pathways for visitors to bike along or simply stroll through. If you want a change of pace, or a spot to relax, Hangang Park is the place to head to.

12) Deoksugung Palace: Here is another one of the five grand palaces, and this was home to the Korean royal family until the colonisation of the country by the Japanese Empire. While a smaller palace than the others, Deoksugung Palace is open later than other palaces, and is worth an evening visit.

13) Hangang River: The River is lovely from its banks, and the best way to experience the river is via a boat cruise.

14) Everland: This is the largest theme park in Korea, it’s also one of the most visited in the world. However, don’t let the crowds deter you as Everland is a great way to spend a day in Seoul.

As you can see, Seoul offers so much to do and yet our list only scratches the surface of this modern, yet ancient city. The capital is a diverse place to visit, where a clash of old and new come together to create a uniquely Korean city, where skyscrapers neighbour Hanoks, and business suits mingle with traditional Hanboks.

To read more on what to do in Seoul, click here!

Unexpected gastronomical city break in Saskatoon, Canada

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Canada isn’t always thought of as a destination for gastronomical pleasures. The country, also called ‘America Jr’ is best known for polite people, beavers and the exporter of Jim Carey. However, pull back the curtain, and it offers an amazing destination for city break style holidays. One of our top recommendations is Saskatoon. It’s a picturesque riverside city, with a ton to offer.

These ‘prairie provinces’ tend to get a bad rap, however there are little gems inside of Canada, with a vast array of activities to participate in, and these little provinces offer a unique Canadian experience.

Starting off this journey in the Delta Bessborough is probably the best way to start your trip, a hotel that is known as the ‘castle by the river’ and is surrounded by 5 acres of gardens. A central location to downtown Saskatoon, makes all the more appealing, and convenient.

Heading into the city you can find a huge array of innovative restaurants that rivals some of London’s best offerings. Local chefs, brewers and restaurants owners who are passionate about the food they put on the plate, so much so that it’s hard to choose where to eat.

But we here at Ellyot have put together a list of 16 ‘must try’ places to get you started on your Canadian trip of gastronomy.

  1.       Stick & Stones, is a modern Asian inspired restaurant which opened just last year. It offers Korean and Japanese style cuisine and offers an extensive sake list.
  2.      Poached Breakfast Bistro is a great little breakfast joint that offers an array of classic breakfast-brunch dishes to start your day the right way.
  3.       Calories is a chic bakery located in the city, offering a menu that respects the seasons and the environment.
  4.       Odd Couple, another Asian restaurant offers Chinese cuisine, in which the traditional and modern combine.
  5.       Little Grouse on the Prairie, is an authentic Italian restaurant offering prairie based ingredients in a casual and relaxed setting.
  6.       Drift Sidewalk Café – here is a café that offers all types of fare, from a crepe filled with eggs, feta and jalapeno avocado crème fraiche to sandwiches and teas.
  7.       Leyda’s is a whole food and gluten, nut free café with home cooked meals.
  8.       9 Mile Legacy Brewing is a microbrewery combining high quality and unique ingredients to produce an original drinking experience.
  9.       The Hollows offers contemporary food focused on the seasons, with local ingredients which are all sustainable. It’s a ‘quirky’ and ‘comfortable’ restaurant  and a must try.
  10.   Baba’s Homestyle Perogies is the best place to try authentic Ukrainian food. (Perogies are a type of dumpling made with unleavened dough).
  11.   Ayden Kitchen & Bar is the perfect place to try globally inspired food with amazing hand-crafted cocktails in a relaxed setting. It’s the perfect mix of comfort and warmth with every experience.
  12.   Park Café & Diner is a local greasy spoon, with home cooked comfort foods like French toast, hash browns and bacon and other diner classics, served in a retro 1950’s setting.
  13.   The Night Oven Bakery is the local bakery that crafts all their bread by hand. With a mill and brick oven, this place offers some of the best breads, pastries, scones and cakes in the city.
  14.   The Local Kitchen is a collaborative kitchen that brings participants together to cooks and create dishes. It provides the perfect place to learn some lessons from some of the top chefs in Saskatoon.
  15.   Lucky Bastard creates traditional spirits, with a large mix of artistic spirits, liqueurs and bitters.
  16.   Primal aims to provide Italian food and handmade pastas using local ingredients to create an innovative menu with dishes like fried bread, elk carpaccio with pickled walnuts and a popular dish of marrow bone luge.

Saskatoon is a city for real foodies, as you can see, but this list is just a fraction of the amazing eateries and artisan venues that the Canadian prairie has to offer!


For more tips on must have dishes at the restaurants, click on the link: https://www.lavenderandlovage.com/2017/08/savour-city-break-saskatoon-canada.html

Forbes’s 30 cheapest places to travel

pexels-photo-386009.jpeg We all love to travel, and doing so cheaply? Yes please! From Chile to Morocco, there are some amazing exotic places, which you can reach on the cheap.

One of our favourites is Costa Rica. Accommodation from as little as $6 at the best surf beaches? Sounds like a trip not to be missed…

For a place that’s a little off the beaten track, Albania is a great shout; accommodation from $5, and mountainous regions and picturesque medieval towns, Albania is a great place to look out for.

Here are the top 30 cheapest destinations:

  1. Mazatlan, Mexico
  2. South Africa
  3. Puerto Rico
  4. Chile
  5. Crete
  6. Morocco
  7. Belize
  8. Vietnam
  9. Costa Rica
  10. Portugal
  11. Ecuador
  12. Barcelona
  13. Guatemala
  14. Bonaire and Curacao     
  15. Las vegas
  16. Cambodia
  17. Bali
  18. Greece
  19. Albania
  20. Mexico
  21. Canada
  22. Argentina
  23. Haiti
  24. Santa Catalina Island
  25. Indonesia
  26. Bulgaria
  27. Peru
  28. Georgia
  29. Mozambique
  30. Texas

Here at Ellyot we love the idea of being able to go where you want at a moment’s notice, to be free to work everywhere, and travel anywhere! Read on here

Not just a pretty face… 5 extraordinary eco-friendly destinations to add to your travel list

Blog pic Victoria-Angkor-pool

These destinations are definitely going on our Ellyot team meeting spots. Article by Paul Eyers touches on 5 luxury tourism operators in Siem Reap that love the environment. The reality is that there are SO many messages out there that talk to how we can contribute to the environment – it’s almost a bit too overwhelming and these messages end up becoming white-noise. What we love about these destinations is that they choose ONE thing and truly live up to it. Perhaps we should all learn a thing or two from the guys in Siem Reap Cambodia. We would like to keep these extraordinary spaces sustainable over time.

YUNNAN KITCHEN – NY

Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side

SOME dream of the redistribution of wealth. For eaters in search of fresh adventures, a more pressing agenda might be the redistribution of excellent ingredients.

So routine have fresh produce and heritage meats become at restaurants serving Italian, French or modern American cooking that I’ll understand if you fall asleep before finishing this sentence. Yet the revolution has not reached all quarters. Along Lexington Avenue, great Indian cooks are currying nondescript chicken; Thai chefs in Queens are making do with spongy pork; and in Brooklyn, Nigerian kitchens are stewing farmed fish that bears only a slight resemblance to the original article.

Of course, it’s impossible to fault restaurants run by recent immigrants for buying cheaper ingredients. Those Thai chefs can’t buy Berkshire pork if it means tripling prices and alienating core customers. But think of all the memorable meals we’d be eating if they could.

Before you file this complaint under what is referred to these days as White People Problems, consider that the kind of chicken, pork and fish I long to taste in these restaurants was the only kind anyone knew a century ago. Traditional recipes need traditional flavors.

Change may be on the way, but it’s coming slowly, limited mostly to a few Manhattan restaurants that have the financing and the cultural wherewithal to bring in customers who will pay for premium ingredients. The latest to try is Yunnan Kitchen, a sleek package of glass and exposed brick that opened in May on an unreconstructed block of the Lower East Side across from MZ Wang Discount Variety Store (“99¢ and Up”).

The restaurant takes a farmers’ market approach to the cuisine of Yunnan Province in China. Few New Yorkers know much about this food, which allows Travis Post, the chef, and Erika Chou, the owner, to take liberties without being pulled over by the authenticity police.

In late summer, a frequent special chalked on the blackboard wall next to the open kitchen was a salad of locally grown green tomatoes dressed with coriander leaves, golden flecks of garlic and crushed poppy and coriander seeds. Has any Yunnanese cook ever treated a crunchy, unripe tomato this way? I don’t know and I don’t care. It’s a very refreshing salad, wherever it’s from.

Neither can I vouch for the precise origins of the small pile of “Yunnan spices” alongside fatty pork belly given a gentle cure and then fried until it blistered. I just know that I fell silent as I swiped this house-made bacon into the rust-colored powder again and again, trying to name all the spices. There was cumin, Sichuan pepper and hot chiles for sure, and maybe some star anise as well.

Whatever is in it, the blend is hard to resist, and the kitchen doesn’t try. The same powder is sprinkled over all the grilled skewers on the menu’s shao kao section, and if you order too many of these you may start to lose interest. The best are the little balls of ground lamb, spring onions, fresh ginger and pickled chive buds; the least compelling are chicken skewers, which received what flavor they had from those spices.

Yunnan Province borders Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar, and its cooks have the light Southeast Asian touch with fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers, seen at Yunnan Kitchen in a plate of scrambled eggs with a fistful of jasmine blossoms. I appreciated the rich, soft eggs more than the jasmine, which began to cloy after a few forkfuls, though people whose hearts flutter for its romance-novel fragrance might disagree.

Mr. Post cooked at Franny’s in Brooklyn before heading off in January with Ms. Chou on a two-week tour of Yunnanese restaurants in Shanghai and Beijing. This was not exactly an immersion course in the cuisine, which Mr. Post interprets with a Western accent.

Yunnan Kitchen is no immersion course, either. A first meeting with an unfamiliar cuisine that combines strange new flavors in ways you’d never imagined can stop you in your tracks. Apart from the overworked spice blend, I never had that sensation at Yunnan Kitchen. I came to trust the kitchen, but I agreed with a dining companion who said the next day, “I’m still in search of the Yunnan part of it.”

I continued my search across town in TriBeCa, where, in one of those odd happenstances that New York likes to toss down as if it were no big thing, another Yunnanese-inspired restaurant opened earlier this year.

The menu of Lotus Blue, at 110 Reade Street, promised novel tastes, with candied plums, pickled Yunnan turnips and banana blossoms. But in two meals, there was only one dish I wanted to finish: crunchy and meaty tiger prawns stir-fried in their shells with sugary bits of candied olives. I abandoned everything else after a few bites, including flavorless noodles in weak, oily broth; pork meatballs in a gooey, indistinct brown sauce; and a few other things I can barely recall.

After that unsatisfactory dalliance, I returned to Yunnan Kitchen with a fresh appreciation for its charms. Yes, I had liked the shrimp I’d met when I went astray. But the shrimp at Yunnan Kitchen were far better, deep fried with lime leaves, the crunchy shells seasoned with tart and fragrant lime salt, the flavors refreshingly direct and to the point.

And while there were no unmined veins of Yunnanese flavor lurking in stir-fried king mushrooms flavored with Allan Benton’s country ham, or in floppy, membranous wood ears with lengths of Chinese celery, both showed a firm understanding of how mushrooms should be treated. My favorite mushroom dish, though, was the mushroom rice cake with nicely crunchy bitter greens and fermented chiles. The whole thing is slicked with a sweet soy glaze and is surprisingly easy to finish before you realize it.

Mr. Post’s fresh, locavore sensibility leads to straightforward and uncomplicated cooking. In one key way this is a liability: nothing at Yunnan Kitchen builds to a pitch of flavor that makes you dream about your next visit. That may change as Mr. Post explores more deeply.

In the meantime, there are enough lovely tastes to build a good meal, and to suggest what we have to gain if restaurants start to spread the wealth around.

Yunnan Kitchen

 

Squish Studio – CANADA

Tilting, Fogo Island, Newfoundland

SAUNDERS ARCHITECTURE

The Squish Studio is located just outside the small town of Tilting on the eastern end of Fogo Island. First settled in the mid-18th century, Tilting is known for its strong Irish culture and its recent designation by Parks Canada as a National Cul- tural Landscape District of Canada.

The Squish Studio’s white angular form, sited on a rocky strip of coastline, that could rival Italy’s western coast, offers sharp contrast to the traditional vernacular architecture of the nearby picturesque community of Tilting. As its architect, Todd Saunders, has commented on the studio’s siting, “…it is out of sight, but close.” The approach to the front entry of the studio is dramatic, as the most southern end of the studio rises twenty feet above the ground, in sharp contrast to its most northern tip that measures only half that dimension. The compact, trapezi- um-shaped plan of the studio is augmented by the extension of the east and west exterior walls to create a sheltered, triangulated south entry deck and a north terrace that overlooks the ocean. From a distant view, the streamlined form of the Squish Studio becomes apparent with its high back and low (squished) front designed, in part, to deflect the winds from the stormy North Atlantic.

As we approach the entry of the studio we are greeted by Silke Otto-Knapp, a London-based artist and the first occupant of the Squish Studio. As Silke brings us through the studio, the spatial compression of the tall and narrow entry area gives way to the horizontal expanse of the main room. The downward angled roof leads the eye to the full height oblong glass window focused on a splendid view of Round Head. The vertical white planks that line the interior walls are interrupted by a playful series of narrow windows integrated with an expanse of built-in cabi- netry.

Silke’s quick figurative studies on paper are posted on the walls, as well as, several large scale canvasses. She is delighted to work in such an architecturally inspired space, especially when it is stormy and she can experience the imme- diacy of the sea and, on some days, observe the dramatic shift of the island’s weather.

The Squish Studio, like most of its other counterparts, is equipped with a compost toilet, a small kitchenette and wood-burning stove. Power is supplied by stand- alone solar panels, mounted on an adjacent hilltop. Both the interior and exterior of the studio, including the roof, is clad with spruce planks that are painted white. At night, the studio, illuminated by the soft glow of its solar-powered lighting, appears as a lantern or a lighthouse placed strategically on a rocky cliff to over- look the North Atlantic. In its isolation, one can also imagine a sole occupant, vulnerable but protected from the elements – inspired to work late into the night, occasionally distracted by the crash of the waves, or perhaps, fully immersed in the work at hand, the first glimpse of the sunrise through the Squish Studio’s slot windows that face the north-eastern horizon.

Anish Kapoor – LONDON

Orbit, 2009-2012
115 m
Project for the London Olympics 2012
Collaboration with Cecil Balmond, Arup AGU

Award winning London-based artist Anish Kapoor has been given the commission of a lifetime to design the spectacular new public attraction in the Olympic Park. The stunning artwork, to be entitled ‘The ArcelorMittal Orbit’, will ensure the Park remains an unrivalled visitor destination following the 2012 Games, providing the key Olympic legacy Mayor of London Boris Johnson envisaged for the East End.

The breathtaking sculpture – thought to be the tallest in the UK – will consist of a continuous looping lattice of tubular steel. Standing at a gigantic 115m, it will be 22m taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York and offer unparalleled views of the entire 250 acres of the Olympic Park and London’s skyline from a special viewing platform. Visitors will be able to take a trip up the statuesque structure in a huge lift and will have the option of walking down the spiralling staircase.

Anish Kapoor’s proposal has been developed in collaboration with one of the world’s leading structural designers, Cecil Balmond of Arup. Balmond, who trained and lives in London, is known for his innovative work on some of the greatest contemporary buildings in the world, such as the CCTV building in Beijing, as well as numerous Serpentine Gallery pavilion commissions. The two began working together on the Marsyas project in 2002 and have become renowned for their ambitious, large-scale public art projects

Endémico Resguardo Silvestre – Mexico

Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada, Mexico

Designed by Jorge Garcia of GraciaStudio, the Endémico Resguardo Silvestre Hotel is part of the renowned Mexican Hotel group Habita. The  eco-friendly hotel, set to open this year, is located in Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California. It features a set of twenty independent rooms named EcoLofts with 215 sq ft each. The EcoLoft has a clean and minimal steel structure elevating it to avoid contact with the soil. Each EcoLoft has its own wooden deck with a clay kiva fireplace so you can have a glass of wine and enjoy the stunning views. The property also features a stunning pool, a winery, and a fine food restaurant.

Poznan lanterns – Poland

Every summer solstice, all those European pagans celebrate their Midsummer Festivals. They are often beautiful celebrations.

From Austria to Russia, it’s an occasion for joy and celebration. In Sweden, beautiful girls dance and sing dressed in fairy clothes, their blonde hair braided in beautiful patterns. In Spain, people burn old stuff in beaches and fields, getting away with their past and jumping over the fires to clean themselves of bad spirits. And in Poland, thousands of lights float through the skies.

These images are from the city of Poznan, Poland, where 11,000 lanterns took the skies like a swarm of glowing jellyfishes, pushed into the air by the flames burning inside their nimble bodies. Definitely one for the list of places and times to visit before I die. Amazing…..