My mom absolutely loves flowers that’s why instead of buying her a dozen of her favorites, I decided to bring her to Seoul in a spring time instead on her birthday. Nothing beats the real thing and the fact you can touch and smell a lot of flowers real time is definitely a more fantastic experience than having a bunch of flowers thrust at you.
A friend who visited Seoul only recently convinced me to visit South Korea on an April. I remember being extremely jealous of her when she visited Seoul in 2012 and was able to see cherry blossoms in full bloom almost about anywhere while walking around the capital. The last time I was here, it was autumn and I was awed by the orange foliage that covered Gyeongbukgong and Changdeokgung–two of the famous palaces in Seoul. It was so much fun to capture sights of trees changing colors as it is nearing winter season. That was October 2011. In April this month, I got to witness another charming side of Seoul.
After browsing several times on the Internet last year, I made up my mind to follow suggestions to visit Seoul during spring to catch the Cherry Blossoms Festival in Hangang Park in Yeouido Island. Suggestions say we shouldn’t delay our trip because anytime, the cherry blossoms may be gone any minute. I’m glad that when we finally got there, the cherry blossoms are still there in full bloom. There were no festivities in the area but the park itself was vibrant and lively and the crowd that filled Yeouido’s streets gave of an upbeat feel.
After exiting Yeouinaru Station, we strolled along the island’s vast riverfront park first which is ideal for walking, bicycling, and family picnics. One can rent bicycles to explore the beautifully landscaped park. We saw some typical office workers remove their shoes and dangle their dainty feet at the riverside while munching on some snacks and holding canned drinks. Of course, we didn’t pass up the chance to get up close and personal with South Korea’s famed Han River. So my mom and I took turns posing for some pictures the same way the locals do.
It’s a nice place to stay and recharge. I would have loved to try a ferry ride but we couldn’t find the ferry terminal. We actually thought the Hangang Floating Stage was the terminal. But the park itself was splendid. We rested in one of the benches and had a nice bonding time, breathing in fresh air.
Our growling stomachs reminded us its past lunch time and brought us again to our feet. We didn’t bring any food or water with us. So we decided to find a nearby restaurant. There was one, but we didn’t like pastries. Then, walking a bit more, we found so many food stalls just along the walkways. I find it interesting though, that like in Manila, there are street vendors here. We find some selling popular street food like roasted squid, sausages, rice cakes, gimbap (traditional Korean rice rolls), corn, buko juice and so much more. Because we’re really hungry, my mom chose to buy the Korean sausages, which amazingly, was partnered with some crunchy fried chicken and potatoes. We took our humble lunch at a public terrace overlooking the river where some elder Koreans were lazily lounging.
After eating, we walked a little further and found another perfect recreational space: Yeouido Park…
We’re so lucky to find this spot in Yeouido. It is so wonderfully maintained that its no wonder why so many people from all walks of life are attracted to this spot and come here to enjoy a moment’s respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. Here and elsewhere, one can find lovely cherry blossoms. I saw some people around here carry digital cameras and SLRs to take professional photos of the flowers and the park.
I’m glad I wore my favorite rubber shoes for this walk. The uphill climb can be tiresome, but I assure you it’s all worth it. Just the sight of cherry blossoms and other colorful flowers will remove any tiredness. 🙂