I’ve been walking F. down the hill to the bus stop. It’s not very far, but it’s a pretty steep hill and all the walking up & down is doing me a world of good. Lately, I’ve been extending it up to the top of the hill, just a bit above us, and doing a circuit of the Lotus Pond park. It’s a lovely little park, nestled into a ravine. Presumably it’s a park because it was just too damned steep to build anything — I suspect that’s true of many of the little green oases around the city, which seem generally to be on hills. It’s also the beginning of an very good walking path along the Sky Way, a road that snakes its way along the top of some of the hills that run through the north of Seoul. OK, if you know the area better that’s probably not a great description but it’ll do for now. I’ve walked on that for a ways, in the morning, and it’s a pleasant mix of bike-path like surface, boardwalk, rubberized (strips of tires in a latice as a walking surface) and plain old dirt path. Ignore the road next to you & the occasional view across a mega-city, and you might feel for a minute that you’re in the country. Anyway, the Lotus Pond park. The main part of the park is in a figure 8, with the cross-bar of the 8 running down the center of the ravine, with two loops going along & down the sides to join up at the bottom (of the park! the ravine continues). Like the Sky Way trail, there are a lot of old people taking their exercise in the morning, although these folks in the Lotus park seem generally a bit older & frailer than those striding along the Sky Way trail. Now that I’ve been there several times, a few people have said hello (an yaeng ha seh yo) to me.
There’s a lot of exercise equipment around generally in both places, but more in the Lotus park, I think. Some I haven’t seen in public places before, like one for lying on a board, hitching your feet under a bar, and flipping the board over so you’re upside down. Seen that in a gym, but never in a park. Don’t think you’d see that in Dublin… the barbell would disappear instantly.
It’s a nice time to be walking there too, the late summer, with so much in bloom. There are huge numbers of these little purple flowers, kind of like.. well, I’m not very good with flower’s names! Here’s a closeup if you’d like a look. It’s lovely and cool under the trees — and very humid near the stream — but some of the flowers are also in the sun (those don’t look as happy).
The walk back up the center of the ravine is very lush, with a series of little ponds behind tiny dams trickling down the hill. The way you’re down below the streets above, and in fairly dense trees, you can’t hear anything. Unlike the Sky Drive, you really could just lay down on the grass and let the world go by. At the top, there’s exercise equipment and the OAPs, but except for a few school boys and one other man, I don’t think that I’ve seen anyone (or at least very few people) walking through the park proper , except on part of the higher paths that cut through from the bus stop to some apartment buildings. Yer man just strolls the figure-8, that I can tell… he’s there when I arrive (already 25 minutes into my walk) and is still strolling when I finish.