Friday, January 9, 2009

Sasha's Big Day Out or Seoul is a Large City

The other day I decided to take the metro to the Han river (that bisects the city) and check out the paths and recreation areas. The river is only three metro stops away, so I decided that I'd walk back to the house from the station... without a map... turns out the city is a lot larger than I imagined.

The river Han itself is about a kilometer wide. There are a ton of bridges over it, but since they are so big they aren't as personal as those in Portland.

This shows the walking paths, the other side of the river and the little island halfway accross.

Here is a bit better view of the park - good sized, but kind of barren. Granted it is January, but there are only four people out, playing croquet of all things...

Way off in the distance you can see some more high-rises. I'm not sure if that is Seoul proper, but I assume so.

Crossing the bridge is not to eventful - wide sidewalks and what will probably be much better views in the summer. But then at the end of the path:

A bunch of highways and largely deserted areas. Not wanting to get too lost in what didn't look like the best part of town (although I've been assured there are no bad parts of town...) I decided to take the path on the south side of the river towards what I thought would be the continuation of a metro line I knew.

The path stretched on for a very long time with no exits - the freeway was on one side and the Han on the other. Again, I thought that this place would be full of people, but it is January and the banks of the Han had ice on them. Every once in a while a cyclist would go past me - I found an interesting sign for bikes as well.

I expected stairs or something, but it was only a hairpin turn - nothing I would put a sign up for.

The path went on and on - past people fishing, some swan paddle boats tied up for the winter, and a lot of construction. Really there wasn't anything too exciting to look at, but this building with a coke-esque line on it caught my eye:

Love your life.
Love your dream.
Write on your buildings in a language your population can't read.

I eventually had to cut through some construction zone to get off of the foot path and back into the city.

From here I managed to find a sign towards a station - sure it was a few klicks away, but I had already walked a ton, so why not keep going. I finally got there, after learning about underground crosswalks (can't disrupt the cars), and realized that it was a light rail station - not the metro. I had no idea how it met up with any of the metro stations, but I managed to get someone at the help desk to say which train I needed to take. I got on the train and managed just in time to figure out what line I was on and which transfer I needed in time to jump back off.

So, after four hours of walking and about 25k, I made it back home, the three metro stops away.


Kurt said...

Looks like a great adventure. Have you seen any of the live squid restaurants we talked about?

youngrog said...

I lived near here. haha.
haha, maybe we can meet by chance :)

Sasha Friedman said...

I've seen many an ugly fish in tanks outside of restaurants - and eaten many an octopus and squid - but they have always been dead and cooked. I don't think I have the nerve (or desire) to eat a live squid!