Sunday, February 11, 2007

A Day in Seoul

The weather has been almost spring-like, and it's been a couple of months since I ventured to Seoul. So I went off for a day of adventure - culinary and otherwise. First stop was lunch at Everest, a Nepalese restaurant. There, I had some tasty nan and chicken masala.

Next stop was the Seoul Museum of Art for the Magritte exhibit. While they had a good selection of his work, the crowds made strolling and lingering an impossibility. The museum also does a substandard job of presenting his work. Information is printed in white text on a beige background, which is hard to see. Many of the quotes were presented only in French and Korean. I can usually get a general understanding from the French, but it would be nice if they included an English translations as well. There is also very little information on the individual works. Although, given their poor job of graphic design, and the already plodding crowd, this is probably a good thing.

Next on my list of things to do was visit Inwangsan, or Mt. Inwang, where the shamanists worship. The climb up was a little confusing, as the side of the mountain has been carved away and replaced by a large apartment construction site. But the cement truck drivers where helpful in pointing the way through the site. Once you get past the construction, you find yourself in a little "village" with traditional Korean houses. Climbing past the village, you begin to escape the sounds of Seoul, although sirens will occasionally shatter the silence. For all of the crowds that were at the Museum, there was an equal dirth of people on the mountain. I would occasionally pass by some people worshipping, but there were only a hand full of people hiking in the area. It was quite serene, and a welcome escape from the city below.

After hiking, I head to Gangnam, which is a very ritzy neighborhood of Seoul. The destination was Dos Tacos, a Mexican restaurant. The burrito was good, albeit a bit pricey compared to the US, and the horchata was excellent.

Finally, the day and night ended with a short walk over to Big Rock Brewery, which is a Canada based microbrewery. Beers are a bit expensive, at around $7 a piece (but hey, there's no tipping), but they were a tasty respite from the normal Korean swill.

A few more pictures from my hike.

Trees silhouetted by the setting sun

The city below

A really narrow house

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