Wednesday, February 13, 2019

the Seoul-Yangpyeong walk in pictures: Day 1

At long last: my recent walk in pictures. Let's just cut to it.

Han River path, about 5 km out from my apartment. All systems go. Jamshil Lotte World Tower in the distance. It's around 6:40 a.m.; I've been on the path about an hour.

Yours truly, glowering:

Jamshil Bridge, with that weir-like structure that helps aerate the river's water:

Looking down the path. It's cold, folks.

A pause as I do my business in one of several restrooms along the path. These restrooms appeared less and less frequently as I reached the city limit.

En avant:

That BMX bike park(?) that I photographed in 2017:

I somehow missed the Gwangnaru certification center last time. When I have the chance, I need to go back and get a damn stamp:

The cert center, up close:

Another straightaway. Note the wintry vegetation:

Bridge in the distance:

One of many bunkers along the way. These are painted a boring white:

The beginning of a brief uphill stretch:

Things get steeper:


A view of the river and a canal:

Paldang Bridge is 9.7 km away (see sign):

My trekking pole points to Hanam, the city where I'll be spending the night:

Taking a quick break:

I saw this and thought, "Warp speed!"

The character of the path is always changing:

As I noted in 2017, this stretch reminds me of Europe:

I was curious about these geometric structures, which seem to be made for people to lounge around on. I'm guessing these are occupied during the warmer months. All empty now:

A closer look:

This one has netting:

Note, below, the picnic tables. These feel almost like rentable campsites or something. Each structure sits on its own patch of ground. Weird. Did I miss a sign somewhere, telling me what this place is all about? Is this some kind of glamping?

Nearing the end, now:

The obligatory shwim-teo:

When you reach the edge of Seoul and enter Hanam City, there's no way not to know you're at the border. Subtlety is not in the nature of Hanamians, apparently:


In case there's been any confusion about where you came from and where you're going, this sign is here to help:

Yes, yes—thank you:

Thus begins the stretch next to the baseball fields:

I tried to capture the frozen-over water. Not sure I succeeded:

"Watch out for foul balls," the sign says below. Every man's warning to his girlfriend, I'm sure.

This doesn't capture how beautiful the river looked:

At last: a colorful-looking bunker:

Below: this is a part of the path I hadn't walked in 2017. Last time around, I stayed with the bike path, but this time around, I took a leap of faith and followed the pedestrian path that was just up the hill, trusting that the footpath wouldn't veer away from the bike path. It didn't.

The backsides of some local businesses:

A French name: Le Tournant (The Turn):

Note the tamped-down earth that constitutes the path. I'm normally not a fan of such surfaces because of the grit and pebbles that end up inside my shoes, but on this day, the ground was damp, perhaps because it had been frozen but had begun thawing when the sun hit it:

Not everything along the walk was beautiful. There was plenty of garbage:

This next pic was taken after I had lost my battery power and switched to my portable power supply, which recharged one of my batteries. (Cold is your battery's enemy!) I left the footpath and descended to the bike path for navigational purposes; up to now, my path had essentially been a straight shot along the Han River, but as I got closer to Hanam proper, I knew I'd be following some twists and turns into the city. Since Naver Map was showing me the bike route and not a pedestrian route, I thought it wiser to follow the bike path, which at this point was nice, wide, and comfortable:

As I walked into town, I saw the sign for this local creek: Deok-poong Cheon. The word cheon means "creek" or "stream"; I can only guess that deok means "virtue" and poong means "wind," so a deok-poong is a "virtuous wind" or a "wind that carries virtue with it." Or I could be totally wrong and have my head firmly up my ass, as usual.*

The path into the city leads you into the urban space rather gently. There's no jarring transition from a natural setting to a citified one:

Hanam City, Deok-poong Bridge #6:

A cute bridge that I passed on my way to the downtown hotel:

I decided to stop and eat lunch before hitting the hotel because I was in town earlier than anticipated. I had arrived at the edge of town around 12:40 p.m., and I didn't think even the most open-minded hotel manager would let me get a room that early in the day. So I ate at McDonald's and dallied for about an hour, total, before heading over to the Baro Hotel to try my luck at getting a room.

The Baro, right where I left it in 2017:

And we finish with a creepy pic taken in my hotel room's strange, sparse lighting. I had begun growing the "traveler's beard" back during Lunar New Year's break. I tend to let the facial hair go wild whenever I'm on a long walk; shaving thus becomes one less thing to worry about.

Stay tuned for even more pictures when I post images for Day 2!

*Looking up deok-poong in the Naver hanja dictionary brings up 德風/덕풍, which is definitely "virtue" and "wind." But the dictionary defines this word as "the edification of morality [도덕(道德)의 교화(敎化)]." Perhaps poong/wind takes on another meaning in this context. Perhaps edification is the wind by which virtue is spread across the land.


John Mac said...

Although I had never walked that portion of the path, it did bring back memories of my life in Seoul. Thanks for sharing!

Charles said...

風, in addition to its primary meaning of "wind," can also mean "teachings" or "customs" (cf. 풍습). It is also closely associated with 氣. It has always reminded me of the association of wind with the breath of God in the OT and with the Holy Spirit in the NT.

Kevin Kim said...

Your comment reminds me of this old post.