A cold, crispy and sunny day 3 saw a sojourn to Buam-dong before a walk along another section of the Seoul wall from Buam-dong ( Changuimun gate) to Sungnyemun. I’ve written about Buam-dong before, just remember its best to take the bus up the hill and descend rather than ascend like a numpty!
The museum’s owned by the philanthropist Mr. Ahn who just before the last election dropped out of the presidential race. Above the museum is Seokpajeong a villa that belonged to Prince Regent Heungseon who ruled Korea in the late 18th Century. It’s a beautiful setting and well worth a visit.
After visiting the museum cross over the main road and explore the quaint streets, cafe’s and galleries of Buam-dong (not on Monday’s they are closed). To take the walk return up the hill to Changuimun Gate and the Poet Yun Dong-ju’s Hill, which is where the walk downhill starts. Here in the shadow of Mt. Inwangsan, on a clear day, you have fantastic views of Seoul towards Namsan. Its easy to pick out the royal palaces and the presidents “Blue House“.
As I descended the mountain I appreciated the views but was constantly surveyed by the masses of security protecting us from an “impending” North korean invasion. I saw more Koreans hiding there faces from the CCTV than in any other place in SK. The highlights (other than the views) of my descent can be summarised as follows:
- At least 10 fellow hikers fell into uncontrolled laughter when I said hello to them, I’d like to think I make people laugh but such mirth at pleasentries was inconceivable.
- I saw 7 young ladies making the trek in high heels, I believe Korean women are the worlds best totterers on a mountain side, they should be applauded!
- I met 5 couples picnicking with copious quantities of makeoli, did they make it to the top or just stagger to the bottom?
- Is it normal throughout the world to see 9 hikers applying make-up products and carry elaborate mirrors within their hiking paraphernalia?
- I saw one lady sledging without a sledge encourage by her son to enhance her bum burns.
- 2 people were observed squatting behind bushes less that 2 metres from the main pathway…really!
An enlightening descent was followed by a visit to the closed Seondaemun Prison History Museum (bloody Monday). I returned to Tongui-dong for beef rib stew (galbi Jim) at a restaurant called 007. I had been shaken by my observations but not stirred from my ambition to circumnavigate the great Seoul Joseon Wall. I viewed a few galleries and then settle for a coffee in a gallery off Jahmun-ro 6. After an afternoon nap I ventured out into Jongno for my Khanbu and a beer. Day 4 beckoned, the 1988 Seoul Olympic Park.
Seoul Museum, Buam-dong, Hours: 11am to 7pm (5pm for the Seokpajeong, Contact: T. (02) 395-0100, www.seoulmuseum.org
Buam-dong can be accessed from Gyeongbokgung Station. Buses #1020 and 7022 serve Buam-dong from exit 2 and 150m down Jahamun-ro. Get off at the Changuimun gate or down the hill at the museum.