Namsan Park is a very large beautiful part in the middle of Seoul, just north of the Yongsan area, where the US military base resides. If you have ever heard anything of Seoul, it is HILLY, and Namsan is no exception. Unlike how you Michiganders are thinking of Stoney Park where there is some great 6 mile "flat" path around water...this is not that. It is a few miles of STRAIGHT UP HILL...seems to be a trend here in Seoul.
There is a beautiful path that goes to the top of Namsam Park, which ends about 240m above sea level (only about 1-2 miles or so). At the top of Namsam Park, there is N Seoul Tower (also known as Namsan Tower), which has an oberservatory another 240m with a 360 view of Seoul.
So, since Mike's Thursday workday ends about 9PM, I decided to venture out to Namsan just around dinner time and see the Seoul Tower at sundown. It is quite the romantic spot, as I found out by the numerous teenage couples, but I spent it with my Korean chocolate cookies and Pocari Sweat (korean gatorade).
Just a hop off the subway, and you can start the treck through Namsan and up to the top. There are runners and walkers all along the way. It is still quite hot here, so I was prepared to sweat and happy to see that everyone is sweating, so the smell just blends in. All along the path, they have thes off-road dirt trails, where you can find these awesome wooden lounge chairs...in case you wanted to take a nap in the woods.
The greatest thing about Korean parks is that they have installed these awesome rubberized surfaces (can't see it too well in this picture) for walking all around the city as well as all through the parks. I think it is supposed to help your knees for all of this hill walking. Let's put it this way...I appreciate the effort by the city, but hills are hills!
Here is a little video of the view from one of the lookout points on the way up...
So, one hour of uphill walking later, you get to the top of the park. Also, one hour later, you get to the last bus stop. Yes! there are public buses that will take you up to the top (for 600 won or ~ 60cents). You live and learn here in Seoul! I took the bus down...live and learn is not just a saying ;-) So, I get to the top and am joined by dozens of people coming off the buses (not sweating) and we pay our money and go up the top of the tower.
Here are some of the views from the top. The second is as the sun was starting to go down.
Finally, here is a view looking up at the tower...it was beautiful at night. This might be the romantic part.
For Thursday night, my adventure did not stop there. Consistent with all of my experiments here, I tried a new way home...and 1 1/2 hours later, arrived home (only took 20 minutes to get there). Got a little lost and no cell phone at 9PM in a city whose language you don't speak does make things interesting. Good thing about my "long way home"...I bought some milk that we needed and finally found a pet store that has the mats I have been looking for and I arrived home safely with no problems :-) Turns out I was actually only lost about 1 mile from our house.
Namsam and Seoul Tower are a must see here in Seoul! I will go back many more times! One dayvery soon, I will run up that darn hill!