The quietest corner of the city
Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
48Trip End Sep 28, 2010
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Where I stayed
My studio apartment in Maetan-dong, Suwon
We got the metro up and jumped off at Dongnimmun, a short 10 minute walk from the entrance to the park. This was marked by a temple gate, and a little further up some homes and beautifully decorated temple buildings. It wasn't difficult to find the shamanist shrine of Guksadong, although we were both a little disappointed with what we found. Not only was it somewhat unimpressive to look at, it didn't feel like a particularly special building. Perhaps this was because it was a part of Korean culture neither of us understood, and as such we decided not to linger.
Further up the hill were a strange collection of rocks, eroded into some interesting forms. Young Korean couples were numerous here, giving an offering for their expectant children's births. We continued on past these rocks, beneath the trees and past some outdoor shrines, a natural spring and a buddha carving in the rock to a viewpoint at the top of the park. It was a spectacular view from here, down over the park out out over Seoul. There were just a handful of people around and the place was very peaceful, hardly what we were expecting in a city of 12 million people on a national holiday. It felt good here, and we settled for about an hour to enjoy the view and have some lunch. We climbed a little further up to another rock once we were done, and got a glimpse of 'skeleton rock', another eroded stone that looked quite strange and out of place, not to mention a touch frightening! From here we continued down, and jumped back on a metro.
Ania was keen to show me a part of Seoul she'd visited with her uni friends earlier in the week, the modern shopping district of Myeongdong. This place was about as far removed from the peace and quiet of Inwangsan as possible, with thousands of young Koreans done with their Chuseok family gatherings keen to hit the town. The neon signs and boutique stores were a little reminiscent of Dotonbori in Osaka, albeit with a little less style
We had a look in a few shops before jumping on a metro back to Suwon soon after 8pm. It was a good way to spend my last free day, and my mind turned towards the 7am class I had the following day. However, we had a top time in Seoul, realising yet again that the city had something new to offer every time we visited.