Everywhere I walk, I note bright green leaves filling out the trees around me. It’s hard to believe that a mere two weeks ago, these same trees were awash with delicate white blossoms. Not wanting to miss out on nature’s springtime spectacle, I went cherry blossom viewing both days of the peak weekend.
On Saturday, I met up with my good friend Moonhee (문희) at Achasan Ecological Park, a lesser-known locale for cherry blossom aficionados.
This area is well-maintained and beautiful, and offers a great vantage point of Seoul and the iconic Han River from certain parts. We came across a stone pathway intended to deliver an effective, albeit mildly painful, foot massage. Quite a few people were taking advantage of the scenery and the mild spring weather, although the place was not overly crowded. With giant trees in every direction dusted with pale blossoms, it looked like an impossibly beautiful springtime version of hoarfrost.
If you’re interested in visiting this area, take line 5 to Gwangnaru station, exit 2. I relied on Moonhee to lead us to the blossoms, but according to one source, here’s the route to follow: “Straight on Cheonho-daero (천호대로), left on Jayang-ro (자양로), right on Yeonghwasa-ro (영화사로)”.
After we’d spent a few hours at Achasan, we made our way to the ever-busy Yeouido. Easily one of the world’s most famous islands-within-a-city, Yeouido is a popular place for Seoulites to run, bike, walk, and simply enjoy warm afternoons with some beer and street food (or picnic lunches). In typical Seoul fashion, ajummas with leaflets even hang outside the subway exits, tempting visitors with the possibility of ordering fried chicken and pizzas directly to your spot on the grass.
The main sidewalk was certainly busy, as vendors hawked their fare. We saw kebabs, rice cakes, gimbap, iced coffees and- horrors- boendegi! Moonhee is very fond of this snack, and happily snapped up a cup. I decided to be brave and see if I really do hate them, as my last taste was a year and a half ago in Cambodia. It’s official- my tastes have not changed! Ugh!
Things were much quieter away from the main sidewalk. We found a spot on the grass to play Scrabble and enjoy our iced drinks- it made for quite the lovely afternoon.