I have come to think that nothing matters for travelers more than good directions. This conclusion is influenced by the fact that I have a comfortable lodging, a lovely array of electronic gadgets, and excellent shoes. So what do I need next? Directions. What else do I need? The humility to take directions!
I got directions the first time I went some place in Seoul. It might have worked better if I knew enough to follow them precisely, which I didn't. I took the bus instead of the subway (big mistake). It was made worse by my confusion over "next" -- you know the problem -- "next stop is [blank]." I had [false] pride in hearing the word word "next" in Korean. Note: they don't give the next part in the English announcement, another clue I overlooked. Well, after getting off at the "next" stop a couple of times, I learned that by "next" they mean the one after this one and I should wait for it to be the one.
These [pretty fatal] mistakes of mine were compounded by the bewildering experience of getting off and looking around and seeing everything in Korean and nothing that vaguely resembled an orderly grid with streets named by numbers. This threw me into the next problem: getting from the bus or subway stop to the place. Google maps represents this as a straight line passing right through buildings, a trick I haven't mastered. So I need to abandon my idea that I can get there and accept my dependency on directions. It turns out there's a reciprocal to getting directions and that is taking direction.
Having accepted my dependence on good direction, it turns out that people vary greatly in the directions that they give, from rather vague to exceptionally detailed and clear. Here's an example of great directions: "Take a taxi. Show this [address in Korean] to the driver. Come to the second floor." These directions are perfect and I know I will get there. One caveat: Seoul has some pretty cranky taxi driers -- maybe they would like to be tipped??? I will tip, even though it's not the local custom. No one will know but him and me.
I have asked permission to share the "best ever" subway directions in the hopes that this will set a standard for all of us, me included. A guest who was annoyed about getting to my house scolded me for not saying that one highway ended and another began. Frankly, I had never noticed that. So it's easy to overlook small details and editing one's directions will lead to improvement over time. Let's all try!
What makes the directions to Noah's Roasting so excellent? First of all, they are Seoul-ful (horrible, I know). There are very particular assets and challenges in Seoul, and these directions avoid pitfalls and use strengths -- one of which is the numbering of exits from subways and trains, etc. If you take the right exit, you're halfway there. Then, more generically, the author used google street maps to give a visual -- this was a huge help. And there was a tiny mistake -- so always room for improvement! If you want to go to Noah's Roasting, at the last step, don't turn into the driveway. Instead, take the next turn, which is the alleyway.
Noah's Roasting, by the way, is a lovely place for a meeting. Spacious, not rushed, and great coffee!