After a pretty intense beginning to my travels, Wednesday was a little more relaxed – I ventured south again to Seoul’s main tributary, the majestic Han River. As rivers go the Han is very broad at over 1km wide but only 514km long and was historically used as a trade route to China before the country was divided.
Today river traffic is mostly limited to tour boats and to that end, I took a 1-hour ferry round-trip which was pleasant but rather unremarkable for what could be seen along the river banks (mostly high rise apartments). It probably would have been better to go at night when you can see Seoul on in all its neon glory.
Along the river’s northern edge is a cycle path so for a nominal fee (3000 won / £1.50) I hired a bicycle (a tandem no less!) and spent another hour “speeding” along trying to avoid the Tour de France professional-looking types and generally stay upright at the same time as taking photos! It was a bit hard going as the wind was blowing a fair gale but coming back I had more of a chance to appreciate the ride and bask in being on the opposite side of the world from the stresses of my usual routine.
One of the buildings you can’t help but notice is the striking 63 City skyscraper (photo top, interior above), once the tallest building in Asia for a short time, it stands out because of its gold reflective glass windows. I’ll leave you to guess how many floors it has! Whilst the building is primarily office space there are a number of attractions for visitors including an aquarium, observation deck and IMAX cinema. The lobby has a stylish interior with cool lighting that gradually changes colour and huge plasma screens embedded in the walls.
On the ground floor of 63 City, there is a particularly good up-market food court (more expensive restaurants are higher up) where I enjoyed some tasty Bibimbap, a popular Korean meal which consists of a bowl of warm white rice topped with sautéed and seasoned vegetables, beef, a fried egg, and chilli pepper. You stir the ingredients together thoroughly just before eating. A delicious and nutritious meal which I will definitely try to learn to cook when I have time.
Also on the ground floor is the extensive Sea World aquarium with all sorts of exotic aquatic life, including these rather sad looking penguins. I always have mixed feelings about keeping animals in cages, especially when all they can do is wander round in circles, it’s a bit of a pitiful experience. At least the occupants here seemed to be well looked after and in good condition; the sea lions even appeared to enjoy putting on their little display.
After this, I took a bus back to central Seoul and had Korean pizza for dinner, which for those who are wondering is remarkably similar to “western” pizza but in this case had the addition of prawns!