Cherry blossoms in Yeouido

We experienced the famed Korean cherry blossoms in Busan last weekend. This weekend was our last chance to admire the Seoul version before they’re gone for the year.

The blossom producing trees line the streets of Yeouido adjacent the Hangang. Getting off the subway at Yeouinaru station confirmed that we were indeed in the correct location. I’ve lived here for a year now, and am fully aware that Seoul is one of the most densely populated cities on the planet. That doesn’t make it any less astonishing to watch the line for the escalator stack up in crowded situations. People will wait in this line for minutes to use the upward climbing device, when walking up the steps would take 15-20 seconds.

So the masses were out in force. We joined them for a short walk along the road overlooking the river and then decided to duck in to Yeouido Park. Not as many cherry blossoms could be found in the park but other varieties of flowers and vegetation were blooming as well. It’s a nice escape in the middle of “Seoul’s Manhattan”. Similar to New York’s Central Park, on a much smaller level.

Yeouido park has rolling hills, grass lawns, play structures for the kids, peaceful ponds, those paths covered in a variety of fixed stones intended for barefoot walking, a squishy athletic surface path that circumnavigates the park, and plenty of trees lending a foresty feel to sections of the park. In the middle is a large paved plaza where Koreans on rollerblades and bicycles weaved in and out, dodging each other as well as pedestrians.

On the far end of the plaza was a gathering of Koreans wearing red, Karate Kid style head bands. Performers were doing their thing on a stage while the hordes of followers sat on the ground, waving some sort of paper book or magazine in the air, clapping, singing and screaming along with the music. Wax on, wax off Daniel-san.

Our day in Yeouido concluded with some time down on the water in the island’s version of the Hangang Park. The bike rental business was booming and the bike paths were slammed. Families picnicked and posed for pictures. Although it’s not all that warm quite yet, it is nice to see the weather starting to change and the people of Korea gathering more outdoors. Enjoy it now before summer hits and we’re all wishing for the milder days of spring again.

See you next year cherry blossoms.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on April 19, 2010.

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