Everybody’s Gwacheon for the Weekend


Heron along the Yangjae River.

Heron along the Yangjae River.

Warmer weather is finally starting to creep its way back into Seoul. It’s been up and down since February, alternating between jacket-free afternoons and those that give you the impression that winter might just start up all over again. Now that the weather is better, I’ve been feeling more and more like getting out of the apartment and exploring the city again.

I also put off any excuses I might have and invested a mere $130 in a new foldable city bike, the kind that’s not a pain to take on an elevator or into a subway car. Best thing I’ve bought since I arrived in Asia.

Taking advantage of one of the warm weather this weekend, I decided to head down the Yangjae River near my apartment and followed it out of Seoul to the city of Gwacheon. The ride is only about 30-40 minutes seeing as I live perched on the southern-central end of Seoul. The ride takes me between two mountains, and when I arrived in Gwacheon I immediately had the strange, uncanny feeling that I had been there before as a child.

Gwacheon City

This is, to anyone who knows me, impossible. But that’s the nature of deja vu, right? That unshakable feeling you’ve done something before, even if it’s your first time doing it. There was just something about the layout of the city, something about the architecture that made me feel like I was returning somewhere, not exploring it for the first time.

Gwacheon is home to quite a few Korean government complexes, and was a heavily pre-planned city before it was fully developed. As a result, the streets are deliberately placed, parks, sculptures and trees are numerous, and it was positively buzzing with Korean families out for a Saturday afternoon. Speaking of sculptures:

Tommy Insect

Tommy Insect

 

My Korean is still quite terrible, but apparently he's part of a series by Sangjun Lee.

My Korean is still quite terrible, but apparently he’s part of a series by Sangjun Lee.

Gwacheon is a whimsical little place.

Gwacheon is a whimsical little place.

 

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