Day 11, 20th of April 2016
Not as exciting as the previous day but South Korea always throws up surprises with hidden alley ways, with hidden restaurants and on this occasion underground shopping malls, to be quite honest is quite frequent in the city of Seoul.
But leaving a little early to pick up the mother in law from the Seoul bus depot, we had a bit of time to spare, so we made up the time walking probably a two kilometre stretch of the underground shopping mall that is a line of shops there and back containing mainly women’s clothing, if you’re a man you are quite out of luck, because I counted about two men’s shops amongst the thousand I wandered past. But either end of the mall there was a choice of mainly only Korean dishes to eat at both food courts. Those Koreans never forget about the food.
After a good couple good hours wandering the mall, where my wife wandered into every shop only to be a nice dress, while me and the kids waited patiently amongst the hoard of Korean people eager to do their own shopping, it was time to pick up the in-law. The bus depot was at the back of the Shinsegae, an amazing shopping centre in its own right, but a lot more expensive than the underground version.
With the in law having a long trip from her home town, a good six hours south of Seoul, and a mighty heavy back pack, how such a lady managed to get that from her house to the bus I’ll never know but she did, the rest of the day was a catch up day but not without a little chicken and beer for dinner. Yummy.
Day 12, 21st April 2016
Seoul has some of the most beautiful walks I have seen, so I should not have been surprised when I discovered a peaceful walk amongst the middle of the capital city, soothing waterfalls, the sounds of the stream flowing, large fish visible for everyone to see. The Cheonggyecheon stream Starts or begins in Gwanghwamun and it continues along for almost 11 kilometres right through the middle of Seoul to Dongdaemun, admire the flowing water and enjoy a peaceful walk during the middle of the day and even though it can be crowed at times, you still can’t help but feel hidden from the craziness of the city above you.
A short lunch at Mr Pizza, a pizza buffet lunch followed the walk, fair to say we were quite hungry. The buffet style pizza was just ok.
Ok so this sports mad Traveller couldn’t resist the lure of another baseball game and I am glad I didn’t. This time I just went with the boys back to Jamsil Stadium while the wife had some much needed time with her mother. I have always felt sport is better at night and this game did nothing to change my perspective. While the crowd was a little less than the Sunday game being a week night, the atmosphere was still electric. Maybe largely to the game being of better standard and closer than the one watched on the weekend. But fair to say I got the good deal with the LG Twins and NC Dinos game, 3 home runs, an unhappy coach who let the refs know about it and a game that went right to the death. After 3 and a half hours of baseball fun the Dinos finally got over the line and the boys didn’t mind going to bed well after midnight.
Day 13, 22nd April 2016
A morning coffee and it’s a walk up a short mountain near our apartment. The Bugaksan Mountain is just another one of those mountains on the city doorstep. Starting at Samcheong Park you walk along a lovely and landscaped path up the mountain, now this is not Everest, it is a short mountain and no issues with kids to go to the top and this particular summit took a family of four about forty-five minutes to reach the top, where the view of Seoul either side was breathtaking. Also up the top you can see or climb a top the Seoul City wall, a wall built in 1396 of stone and wood to protect a city from invaders. How I love the history of this great country.
There are several paths up and down the mountain and unfortunately we took a different turn down the mountain that lead us down the opposite way from where we started. No regrets as it took us down to Bukchon Hanok Village, an area of Seoul with old historic houses and food shops. It is what I truly love about Seoul, where the modern world meets tradition. South Korea certainly doesn’t forget where it comes from, even if at times the city can tend to be Americanised.
The Village lead us to Insadong, a part we have visit before and headed in towards the city and back to Gyeongbokgung, it ended up a five hour walk/hike before we stopped for a late lunch at an Italian restaurant called Spaghetti view, the pasta and pizza was delicious. Before a laid back evening resting our feet.