Monday, 13 October 2014

남산 | Namsan




Namsan is a really popular mountain in Seoul, and it's name literally means "South Mountain". Nick and I went with a lovely lady from my school (Rachel) and her sister (Jamie) as we continue to bond and trade languages. It's always really fun whenever we go out together, and we get to eat a lot, so I'm happy, hahaha.
We started off by getting the train together, and grabbing some Thai food in Itaewon. Afterwards, we grabbed some 'dessert' (bearing in mind this is pretty much our breakfast) of churros and coffee. There's a big churro trend going on in South Korea at the moment, and I'm not complaining. I love them. We went to Standing Coffee, a tiny but very popular little coffee shop selling good-sized, good-tasting coffee, and drank them while we waited in the queue for Street Churros, another tiny little window churning out hot, fresh, crispy churro goodness. I was so happy, haha.

So was Nick, but true to form I took an awful photo of him.

We took a bus from Yongsan all the way up to a bus stop which I would assume is about halfway up the mountain. The weather was great and clear, which I'd been worried about because the day before had been a little hazy. We stocked up on drinks and set off! Thankfully the slope wasn't too steep.

Nick, Rachel, Myself, and Jamie~


What was also great is that the roads up to the peak are lined with trees, so even in the hot sun that day, it was cool and refreshing.


At the top, there's a little performance space where some people were displaying traditional Korean dances and martial arts, as well as a cluster of shops and cafes.


Namsan is famous for its love locks! Like Fukuoka Tower and the bridge(s) in Paris, and many other places around the world, people come from all over to share their love and cement it with a great view of Seoul.


Locks on locks on locks, I think the railings ran out of space a long time ago, so people have started attaching their padlocks to other, older locks (now deteriorating a little, what doesn't?) as well as other fixtures around the place such as lamp posts, gates, and even tree branches!

Of course we brought our own padlock. ;p

In our own sickening way, we decorated the one side with '사랑해' ("I love you") and a doodle of our faces (featuring my new haircut! It doesn't look like meeee~), and on the other side '닠 ❤ 첼' (Nick ❤ Chelle in hangeul. Sort of. My name is really hard to put into Korean, I think it's actually closer to 셸 but oh well.) and a love umbrella, which is pretty much the Asian equivalent of a cupid heart in Western cultures. I've always thought sharing the umbrella through the rain was a lot cuter and less, er, violent than an arrow through the heart, so that's what we went for.




Nick's pointing to our lock, which we used to rescue another one which had fallen off! Maybe we just ended up prolonging someone's fallen relationship, sob. Here's hoping we actually just saved one that was flagging a little~

So, when you add your padlock, apparently the tradition is to throw your key over the balcony, like in Paris where you throw it into the river. It wasn't until after we'd done this that we saw a sign saying "don't throw keys!", oops. We had two, so I've kept one as a phone charm because I'm a sappy sap.

Allo.
You can get pretty much a full 360 degree view of Seoul from Namsan, and there are padlocks and graffiti on every available surface. So I thought, why not. I'll add to it!


Gross, right? Grab a bucket.

There's little benches and photo opps all over the place, because I suppose it's a big date spot (understandably). I'm not sure what the broken benches are, but I've seen them in more than one place in Seoul. I think the idea is that it forces you to sit bunched up with your loved one, but then if you sit on it alone it just makes you look heavy.

Deep, man.

I think this point was featured in the TV show "We Got Married", Here's our best 애교.
We browsed the stores there, which are full of really nice-quality souvenirs and gifts for a really quite reasonable price, considering this is such a big tourist hotspot. Finally, being too full to have any food, we decided to leave.


We went down the mountain a different way to how we came up, so we got to see some more views, which was great! South Korea has such a different landscape to England, it's so strange to look out at a sprawling city and see, suddenly, several lush green mountains plonked in the middle. Not quite so unusual, but still foreign to my eyes, are the sheer number of high-rise buildings there are. The majority of buildings in central Seoul (and Incheon, for that matter) are so much taller than most places at home. And then, strangely, the lower ones have roof spaces, usually used for drying vegetables and laundry, that have all been painted the same shade of forest green. I don't know why. But it's really quite common, and I like it. It's almost like they're trying to make up for a lack of greenery in the skyline.

Anyway. Once at the base of the mountain, we took a bus to Seoul Station, and parted ways there. It's sad, because we were having so much fun, but also quite a relief. I'm really lazy, I'm not cut out for all this physical activity! I needed a long nap and a cold drink, and I feel like that's exactly what I did.


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