I finally got a day to do what I love to do. Wander aimlessly.
We started out at the stream, Cheongye. It’s honestly one of my favorite parts of the city and serves as a constant reminder as to where the city came from. Koreans used to built temporary settlements on the banks of the stream when they first began settling the area. In the latter half of the 20th century, the city modernized and the stream was built over and eventually just ceased to exist. In 2003, the elevated highway that used to exist was demolished and the stream was re-introduced to the city. Actually the stream gets re-introduced daily since water is pumped into the stream daily from the Han River.
Visit the stream on any given day, the ‘park’ along the stream is inhabited by children, couples, and the ever present old people on hikes. On this day the stream was being enjoyed by families, couples and two unfortunate children who fell in the icy water. First was the younger of two brothers who looked like he was three. He was trying to cross over the stream at one of the many crossing points when he fell in. Luckily he grabbed one of the rocks as he floated by and his brother jumped in and pulled him out by the time I got to them.After being bothered by a stranger with bad Korean (me), they waddled off to find their parents.
We watched the two of them cross the river again, safely this time, and make their way up onto the street level and out of sight. After I was convinced they’d be alright, we made our way further up stream. About a ten minute walk later, we found this.
I still have no idea what it was. When I looked around at people who were noticing it for the first time, they looked how I must have looked: first with awe, then wonder. It was massive and encompassed what must have been a twenty foot section of the rocks on one walk way with hoses feeding water into it. Pieces broke off into the stream while we stood watching and water dripped off feeding the stream.
We exited the stream, got back to ground level and before we knew it we were in Insadong.
The first time I was here, it struck me as quaint but I didn’t really think anything of it. The next time I visited, I found a great place to buy trinkets, the next time a nice back alleyway that was almost untouched from the seventies and now this time a small antique watch shop. The inside was just as interesting as the exterior and did not disappoint.
About my third or fourth time here I found “O’Sulloc”. They specialize in green tea imported in from Jeju. While the store interior just screams “tourist”, I loved the apple honey milk tea and I knew I had to come back. This time around they had a nice set: two teas and cake. The price left something to be desired (20,000 won) but the taste was worth it.
For a day that started out with no heading and no plans, I don’t think it could have been anymore of a success.