For the first time since its construction 44 years ago, the overpass at Seoul Station was closed to traffic for a few hours and opened to pedestrians. The city’s government is planning to convert the overpass into a garden and today’s closure was aimed at drumming up support for its plans. Typically, there is a constant stream of cars plying the network of roads around Seoul Station (one of the main stations that connects the city to the rest of the country) and it is difficult to appreciate the area amidst the traffic. Today however, people came to take advantage of the opportunity to appreciate the views from the overpass while not being stuck in traffic, for once.
Last Friday was National Foundation Day (개천절), which celebrates the founding of the first kingdom of Korea by the “godson of heaven”, Dangun Wanggeom (단군왕검) in the year 2333 BC (oddly, his mother was a bear-turned-woman). Seems slightly strange to me that there is a national holiday to celebrate a mythical event. Nonetheless, one should not complain about more holidays.
Spent the day at the Independence Hall of Korea, the largest museum in Korea, in Cheonan. The photographer side of me won and, rather than looking around the museum, ended up spent most of my time by a cluster of Korean flags because they made such a good background for photos.
Taipei is one of my favourite cities, first and foremost because the people are the warmest I have ever met in any city, hands down. It is also a city of leafy streets and dinky shops selling interesting wares, perfect for wandering around and getting lost. Architecturally, Taipei’s streets have a distinct North East Asian feel, looking like a crossbreed of the streets in Japan and Korea. And of course, mention must be made of the fantastic food.