This is my favorite time of year in Korea — I love it when the hot, summer rains pelt down — so after dinner this evening I took a little walk through the drenched streets of downtown Seoul. And, well, this is what I found:
Pretty cool, huh? The Cheonggyecheon was pretty swollen. Usually, the stream looks more like this:
This was the start of the Cheonggyecheon this evening, when the rains were really coming down:
As opposed to this:
Anyhow, one of my favorite parts of Seoul is just walking around, seeing what I might find on a random street on a random day. Like yesterday, I was walking near the Seoul History Museum, when I suddenly realized that I had never checked out Gyeonghuigung Palace before, and I really should. So I did:
Heunghwamun Gate was originally further east, then moved by the Japanese during the colonial era, and finally moved here in the 1980s.
Gyeonghuigung was apparently destroyed by the Japanese during the colonial era, so this is almost all a reconstruction … But it was quite a nice reconstruction.
The main entrance to the palace is under construction until August, so that was a bit of a bummer.
Unlike the other palaces in Seoul, this one was dead quiet. No tourists anywhere and just a few folks walking around.
Here’s a view of the palace from a hill behind it:
After checking out the palace, I stubbornly refused to retrace my steps and leave the same way I came in, so I started looking around for a back gate. But apparently there wasn’t one. Undeterred, I kept looking, eventually heading up into the forest hill behind the palace. There I found an old wall, with little steel doors in the side. It wasn’t locked, so I walked through and found myself on a little roadway.
I kept walking up until I got to the top of the hill, and what did I find? The old Seoul Weather Observatory, in operation since 1933, I do believe.
Around the observatory, there’s some rebuilt sections of the old Seoul wall (looking very unhistoric, by the way) and quite a nice path snaking its way around the hill. It led to this park:
Which had a whole bunch of cats sleeping on the stones and in the undergrowth:
By now I was up pretty high, in an interesting taldongne area.
There’s even a walking tour and map through the alleys:
And a few forlorn hanok:
Eventually the road took me back down to Sajik Park. Here is a view of Inwangsan from the park:
Oh, right, I started this post talking about the Cheonggyecheon being swollen by the rain. So here are a couple more pics: