Sunday, June 18, 2006

From market to mountain

The day was sunny and hot, so in the spirit of making the most of my day and getting my arse out of Jukjeon, I went into Seoul to do a little window shopping (except it was more like window-less shopping - but you get my point) and ended up trekking up Nam Mountain to visit one of Seoul's most famous landmarks - Seoul Tower.
My first stop was Namdaemun market...
Although it is officially closed on Sundays, there were still plenty of things to see and buy. Everything from Ginseng to turtles (I am assuming they are now someone's dinner) to clothes were on display.
Being that the day was hot, I chose to wander through the narrow streets for a couple of hours and then finish my market experience with a big slice of pineapple from a street vendor.... mmmm....Ajumma's sure know how to slice fruit....delicious!

After the market, I decided to take a little walk around the neighborhood and caught a glimpse of Seoul Tower looming in the hills. For those of you 'not -in-the-know' Seoul Tower is set up in Namsan (Nam mountain) and surrounded by lush green forests that make up Namsan park.
There are buses and a cable car that take people to the top, but as I discovered, one can also walk to the top.
The tower initially looked pretty close, but after several sets of stairs and pathways - the tower still loomed in the distance one point I took a wrong turn and landed down by a street again...obviously not the right path.
The walk is actually pretty easy (once you get on the right path)...almost entirely paved and very safe...however I wasn't wearing the most comfortable of shoes and soon regretted my decision to walk up.
I eventually made it to the top - a few blisters to show for it - and once at the top walked around admiring the smoggy views of urban Seoul, sat on the observatory deck and enjoyed the fresh air (oops I mean smoggy air).
I didn't actually go into the Tower - I assumed the views likely weren't much better and not worth my money to take the lift to the top.
After listening to some live music (actually a South American band playing traditional music...what a treat) and lots of people watching, I took the cable car down to the bottom of the mountain. The ride was definitely worth the 5000won/one way fare (and even more worth the 6500won return feet reminded me of this just now).
Although it took maybe a little over a minute to descend, the views were great.
I have just over 2 months left in Korea before I take my (much-needed break) so I am trying to get out and see as much as I can over the next few weeks.
Enjoy the photos.
Tonight is game 2 of the World cup series for Korea ....but the game starts at 4am local time...believe it or not there will be crowds still watching the game. I am curious as to how many of my students will be sleepy tomorrow at school - likely many.
As for me - I need my beauty rest.
Sweet dreams and good luck to Korea!!!

Named for its nearby namesake of Namdaemun (Great South Gate) is one of Korea's largest wholesale markets. Namdaemun covers over 10 acres and is filled with over 1,000 shops, stalls, retailers, and street vendors. Here you can find just about everything including clothes, shoes, fabrics, tableware, flowers, vegetables, ginseng products, and much more...Unfortunately, it is "closed" on Sundays...but there was still a lot of the street vendors open. Posted by Picasa


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