Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Leisurely Stroll up Mt. Inwangsan

Being that I've been here awhile I'm starting to search out more and more things to keep myself occupied. Mainly I'm trying to pick up some more private lessons to get some more cash as well as fill up my time, but the weekends I'm still trying to explore Seoul and really just see what's out there.

I've basically exhausted Lonely Planet and might pick up some other rough guides just to tide me over for my last 3 months, BUT there was one interesting thing I've managed to overlook. There were two "walking tours" of two parts of Seoul that seemed rather interesting. So one Saturday afternoon a gal pal of mine and I decided to take a stroll before heading out on the town that night.

The walk, entitled "Inwangsan Shamanist Hillside Walk" starts by turning left down an Alley at Dongnimmun Station (exit 2) and walking for 10 minutes up a hill.
THEN you get to the gate and an incredibly steep incline heading up towards a buddhist temple.
THEN you get to some carved out stone stairs before heading up to what's referred to as Zen Rocks where mothers pray for their sons.

After viewing the rocks you can walk towards the right - let it be known you're now entirely in the woods and walking along a rather narrow path alongside natural spring waters. Oh, and a little bit further on up the mountain there is an area for you to stop and rest- partake in some of the spring water AND use some fitness equipment. I kid you not:

Just a bit further and you'll get to the top of the mountain where there is a buddha carved into the stone. If you walk a little towards the left you'll come across a clearing with one of the most beautiful views of Seoul I've seen yet. Entirely worth it.

Along the walk you'll see many women camped out praying for various reasons (mainly their sons - with good reason). They're very friendly so say hello. Just don't bug them WHILE they're doing their bowing and praying, obviously.

Anyway, all in all roundtrip it took about an hour and a half. It's a beautiful walk and one I'd think about doing again. But it's a hike - not a walk.

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