Fri 7/15, day 30
Having looked at the map of the area we were staying in (Sangam) a bit more, we decided it would be reasonable to walk to the Han river. By this time I had gotten a little bit more familiar with the Korean maps/navigation app. When we got down near the river, there was a lot of public park type infrastructure built up, but not a whole lot of people using it. (It is during the work week and school is still in session). We did see a lot of people on bikes down along the river though, and Amy suggested we look for bikes to rent. That turned out to be very easy and a great suggestion – as soon as we rented bikes and started moving down along the river, we felt a lot more comfortable and free. We wore big smiles on our faces.
We had the bikes for 2 hours, so we went quite a ways along the river, just observing the people and bridges and parts of the city that we could see, stopping for snack and water and ukulele jam breaks. Eventually we got back near the place we had started, and stopped for lunch at a little cafe that had chicken and beer – though not quite so fancy as what we had in Busan – they just threw some frozen chicken in the deep fryer and put it in a box with some packet sauces. There was a ton of it and we only ate half, saving the other half to bring back for dinner. Among the other folks enjoying the riverside and some snacks and soju were a few older men decked out in biking gear, with little dogs riding in the baskets of their bikes. It was weird and cute.
After returning the bikes, we walked back a slightly different way, and found ourselves in some of the parks that were constructed for the 2002 World Cup in Seoul. We had to walk up over 400 stairs, that we numbered every 5. Each balcony had an incredible view.
Finally we reached the top and were at the Sky Park. There was a little welcome station with some cool postcards, and it seemed like you could write them there and send them via “slow mail” anywhere in the world. So we tried to buy them from the two older women working there, which turned out to be comically difficult. They eventually got a lock box open only to discover that they didn’t have the one we were looking for, but they gave us two others, and didn’t charge us for them. Or we might have stolen them. Regardless we left smiling and confused.
We wandered through more of the park, with some interesting and random things (like the upside down bird houses) and some great views of the Sangam area. The whole park area and neighboring golf course were actually built on top of a garbage dump, in such a way that they are able to use some of the geothermal energy of the decomposing waste to generate electricity. Pretty cool.
We made it back to the apartment and picked up a few extra things for making dinner, including soy sauce. Annie had warned me that there were lots of different kinds of soy sauce in Korea, and I didn’t know anything about the one that I picked up except it was organic. I used it like I would normally with what we’ve got in the States, and almost ruined dinner! It was the saltiest, most fermented tasting soy sauce I had ever tasted. It wasn’t quite ruined though, and we made the best of it.
To be continued…