Vacation to Seoul South Korea – Day 8 – The River Walk

Finally, an entire day with temperatures above freezing, and what a beautiful day it was. We took the train to downtown Seoul and decided to go for a nice long walk. Chongyecheon is a re-created river that runs through downtown Seoul. It had been covered over by roads several decades ago, and was recently redeveloped and reopened to add nature and display environmental consciousness in the city. It also claims to reduce the hot Summer temperatures by up to 10% near the waterway.

The area is about 30 feet below street level, averages about 100 feet wide, and runs about 3 miles. There are walking paths and vegetation on both sides of the stream, many crossing areas, and man-made rapids to create the sound of rushing water. These features combine to create an escape from the big city. The traffic above must still flow, so there are 22 unique bridges crossing Chongyecheon.  It is difficult to hear the city traffic above the river walk.

We encountered hundreds of people walking along the brick walkways along the banks. The majority of walkers appeared to be businessmen taking a break from work to enjoy nature and get some excercise. We noticed that there were no food venders or picnic areas along the trail. This probably was part of the design to keep the area clean and free from litter.

One area of the embanked walls was covered by a re-creation of what is believed to be the oldest depiction of a royal Korean procession. It includes drawings of over 2,000 figures of people and horses. The long walk in the fresh air created quite an appetite in both of us.

We made our way to another series of outdoor and underground markets with only one thing in mind–street food. We walked past many booths that were selling food we could not recognize, those that we did recognize were unappealing–octopus is freaky. 

Finally we happened upon a lady who was grilling up some sort of egg dish and frying bread. on a small grill. It was big enough to create just 3 sandwiches at a time, and she had a constant line of people waiting to taste her goodies. The pre-prepared egg batter contained onions, garlic, and other vegetables that were fried in a thin layer of oil on her grill top. Our freshly prepared sandwich took about 5 minutes to cook and was served folded and inserted into a paper cup. It was delicious and cost about $1.50.

We continued on to find a whole section of open air restaurants that were creating what appeared to be circles of  fresh corn polenta. It was combined with many vegetables and fried in a thin layer of oil over a large grill top. It was about the size of a small pizza. Heated foil-covered benches surrounded the cooking area so patrons could sit and eat in relative comfort during the winter. Our corn disc was ready as soon as we sat down and served with kimchi plus soy sauce and onions. We ate it with the first wooden chopsticks we have seen since arriving in South Korea. They are much easier to use than the metal ones we find everywhere else. Lunch was great and cost just $4.

Lori began to feel the symptoms of illness that I had earlier in the week, so we decided to call it a day. We made our way back home to Incheon and she napped while I watched movies on television. They show a lot of American movies with original dialogue and Korean subtitles. There are always three movies playing plus what seems like an endless loop of America’s Funniest Home Videos–and they never show the host or the audience, just video after video with commentary by Tom Bergeron.

Lori awoke from her nap and we went out for Korean Barbeque. I am much better at metal chopsticks than I was a week ago, and the hostess did not have to give me any assistance this time. We enjoyed the meal and topped it off with muffins and cookies. Everything was tasty–as usual.

Tomorrow is our final full day in South Korea and features our tour of the DMZ. We will be getting up early to join the masses during rush hour to get to our 8:00 a.m. appointment.

McDonald's Delivers in Downtown Seoul

Korean BBQ

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Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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