Lesson of the day, if you ask an elderly Korean man for directions, be prepared for him to walk your butt off! LOL

While I was in South Korea, I ended up having quite a bit of free time because I was there over a weekend. I had done my research and located a spot that I thought would give me good views of the Han river, as it snakes through the center of Seoul, perfect for an image of the city… I thought. I found a website that explained how to get where I was wanting to go, I loaded up my bus card, and off I went. The website stated to get off at the World Cup Stadium, take exit 7 out of the subway, go up the long escalator, and voila! Errrr… where is it? I’ve learned in cases like these to recheck my directions, look around, and then just stand there for a minute. Usually something will jump out at you, or someone will walk by that can tell you. Neither happened. So, I turned left and started walking towards what looked like some woods, and success! A trail! By this point it’s obvious I’m in a popular spot, and it’s clear this trail is going up hill, so I just kinda figured I was in the right spot (turns out Koreans LOVE to hike). After making it to the top, I was greeted by a nice view of a very large construction site, the stadium, and then WAY off in the distance was the river. Huh, I thought to myself, this is not what I was thinking it was. So, I just decided to start walking and see what I could see.

Along the way, I noticed through the trees a higher ridge way off to my right, and I could make out that there were groups of people up on top. THAT must be what I was looking for. I also noticed that I was quickly being overtaken by an elderly gentleman, so I decided to try my luck at asking directions (English is not uncommon in Korea, especially among younger people). We communicated through broken English and hand-signals, and then he says “I take you there”, and takes off down the trail. At this point I’m thinking to myself that this will be a nice little stroll through the woods with this older gentleman…. but nope! He’s booking it! I seriously had to work to keep up with this little guy who is now taking short cuts and going down steep embankments, which are destroying *my knees*… and I’m starting to get the sense that he is making a sport out of walking my tail off! LOL! Hilarious. He didn’t end up taking me all the way to the top of the next mountain, but got me to a point where it was obvious where I needed to go, shook my hand with a smile, and then he was on his way. I’m pretty sure he didn’t even break a sweat!

While I was waiting for the light to change so I could take the picture above, I discovered that the park he had brought me to is called Haneul Sky Park, and has AWESOME views of the city. It’s a reclaimed mountain (basically a former garbage dump) and has some interesting trails with art and various views of the city with benches everywhere. Super nice place. So if you’re ever trying to find the best place to photograph Seoul, this one definitely needs to be on your list (instead of the park next door)!

–Dan Thompson

Haneul Park