After kicking off Spring Break in Thailand, we spent ten days in Korea. While we have friends in Seoul and have visited most of South Korea, having the opportunity to visit the countryside where our dear friend’s parents live proved to be a once in a lifetime authentic travel experience.

We kicked off our trip with a wonderful day into evening with our friend in Seoul, Jung. She always shows us the best time, and it was so great to spend time catching up over our mutual drink of choice, red wine. We ended the day with a delicious dinner of hanu (a special cattle breed indigenous to Korea) beef barbecue.

The following day, we met up with our friends (family, really) Chloe and Nelson and their two kids. Their son Asher is Lily’s classmate and best friend. The two of them literally go back to the early days of diapers and crawling. It was adorable to see them running around Seoul. We toured a historic neighborhood, walked around Insadong and it’s market, and ate as much ridiculously good food as we could muster.

Seoul was especially beautiful in late March, as the sakura trees (cherry blossoms) were blooming. It felt like Spring was happening all around us.

After a few days in Seoul, we took the train to Jeonju, where Chloe is from. Her angel of a mother met us at the train station and drove us to the little town where Chloe’s parents reside. Her dad, an expert in traditional/alternative medicine, has opened a beautiful retreat where visitors come for holistic treatment and total relaxation. There’s even a charming sauna a few steps away. We stayed in one of the cabins, and it felt like a mini-vacation from our vacation.

The absolute best part of our trip to the countryside was watching Lily and Asher interact…both with each other, and with nature. Seeing city kids catch ants and study tadpoles was priceless. They came back with the best stories for their friends back in LA.

While in the area, we visited a strawberry patch. The adults picked berries, while Lily and Asher played hide and seek and ate more than they picked. By the way, the strawberries were 100 percent organic and perfectly sweet.

On our last full day, we went to the city of Jeonju and famed Hanok Village,a traditional Korean village filled with shops and restaurants. We couldn’t resist the giant calamari being sold on the street. It was worth every calorie…deep fried with sweet onion seasoning.

Speaking of food, everything we ate with Chloe’s family was phenomenal. The hanu barbecue was fantastic, and the banchan (small side dishes) were always delicious and plentiful. Even the makgeoli (Korean rice wine) was tastier and more potent. Jeongju definitely spoiled me when it comes to Korean food. It has the reputation of having some of the best in the country, which I now understand.

We took the train back to Seoul and spent a final night hanging out in Incheon, where Seoul’s airport is located. Then it was off to Taiwan for more adventures.