Soaking up the sun on Seonyu-do

September 8, 2006

Apologies to those with a slow internet connection, the following post is very image heavy. So, you’ve been forewarned. Actually, if you have the time and inclination, check out the original pictures in their large sizes on the flickr site here. Also, i’ve started using “notes” on some pictures, so, in the future, if you roll the mouse over some of the pictures, you can see some little bits of info that I’ve added.

Well, I didn’t want to run at all today. Again, feeling a bit tired and full of the blahs, more content to lounge in the comforts of home and read, etc. But, the running gods will not be appeased with excuses, so, off I went. However, this time, I decided to make it a bit more fun… I brought the camera. Good idea… the run was over before i knew it, i got some great shots, saw a new place in Seoul, and never once felt tired.

And so… awayyyyyyy we go:

Here is my “trailhead.” I’ve started all my runs here so far. Note that the 900m is meters not miles (they have some weird system to measure things here… never heard of it before. whatever. blame the french ;)), so my task wasn’t as grand as it may seem.

So, i run about 5 minutes down a slightly crowded sidewalk, saying hi to the bedazzled faces who ponder what planet this odd creature has come from and find the sign for the park, but, hey, does this look like a riverside park to you?

Not so muchie, but wait, what’s this?

Well, well, what do we have here? An underground passageway!

And it opens to…….the beautiful environs of the Hangang riverside park:

Where you can find a soccer pitch, a bubbler (that’s a water fountain to you non-cheddarheads), and some exercise equipment:

Looking up river, and then down,

with cyclists rushing by… all is good.

Or maybe not… what’s this? My camera’s on the fritz??!!!***#$$%$

This is what i was getting from the camera all of a sudden. Depression sets in, let’s try again…

Yikes…not much better. Fidget with the gadget a bit… hmm… My great project is turning sour all of a sudden. I feel like this:

In desperation, i fall back upon the most primal of repair techniques, the one I’m sure the cavemen resorted to when their flints stopped throwing sparks of somethin’, yes – the smack on the side… and VOILA! It works again! I need a snack – luckily, the path provides….

Uh, oh, what with the snacks and all… nature calls. What to do, what to do?

Ah, sweet relief… and with a maritime motif. Refreshed, it was time to venture out further than I’d ever gone before, to the wild environs of Seonyu-do. What is Seonyu-do you ask? Well, first of all, “do” means island, so, it is an island. But it is more than that. It is an award winning urban reclamation project, turning a former water purification plant into a urban ecotopia… or so the awards seem to point towards. To be honest, I’d be hard pressed to argue the point. It really was fabulous.

Take a look:

Perhaps the most impressive was the wide vista it offered of the northern half of Seoul. I was totally spellbound… You gotta click on this one to see the whole panorama shot in its original size:

Of course, this being Seoul, there is no ecotopia without a ton of people around to enjoy it. Seonyu-do is no different. You had the wedding couple getting their pictures:

Ajumas having a nice little picnic, putting the newspapers to good use:

For the more refined, a terrace with a view of the towers in the financial district of Yeoui-do, Seoul’s “wall street”:

Or, a more traditional pavillion for more picknicking:

And then of course the school kids who were most curious as to what this big sweaty beast was up to.

We had the following conversation (in korean):

M: Hello!

Kids: Wha? You are a foreigner, speak English!

M: Oh, sorry, I’m from France, we speak French, not English.

Kids: (bewilderment) Wha?!! No, no, no. You are foreigner, just speak English!

and then I chased them all away:

All good things must end, so it was now time to head back. First, a reminder that some folks weren’t here to play:

then, slowly the hustle and bustle of Seoul re-asserts itself…

Ugh… uh, cars? No thanks.

But even in the city, there is time for an impromptu picnic. You gotta love a city where you can get food delivered not only to any address, but literally any ol’ spot on the sidewalk! (“Yeah, you’ll see us past the stop sign, by the second tree from the left”) Seoulites are always ready to eat, drink and be merry, and some businessfolks are always ready to oblige:

Finally, I paid homage to a monument to Poeun before finishing the run. The murder of this great Neo-Confucian scholar brought an end to the Goryeo dynasty and with it, the beginning of the Joseon, last and longest Korean dynasty:

But lest I end this otherwise jaunty venture on a sad note, there was merriment to be had even in this scene. You can barely see it in the picture above, but there is a sad-sack cop stationed to this statue, for god-knows-what reason. He doesn’t seem to get much action, and thus uses the beautiful afternoon the best way he can…. Remarkably, it seems that his dream world had actually manifested itself right before my eyes. If you look off to the right, you can see what he really wishes he could be doing:



  1. Oh, no … it’s MATT-O-ZILLA!!!

    Nice camera work, Matty. The images are really lovely. Not to mention, even I found that gaggle of screeching Korean kids adorable – what a feat! The park looks great. Can’t wait to run and bike there with you next spring. 😀

  2. Matty,

    Great pix, neat video. I must be learning Korean, I could understand the little kids squeals when you chased them away!

    Keep the good stuff coming.



  3. This is great Matty. I’m so happy that you and Dee are technically inclined…love running with you! Miss you, Cara Going underground was a little scary tho!

  4. Wow, Matty, that place was beautiful. Do you remember the kids in Hollandale looking at Dominica, innocently asking if she was Chinese? Now the tables have turned. 🙂

    It looks like a beautiful place to take a run.

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