We spent some time a couple different Han River parks this weekend, even though it was cold out.

The Han bisects the city neatly north and south, it is a very large river. There is a bike path that runs alongside it on the north side, and both sides have a series of parks.

Like many of the parks in Seoul, these are well placed and well planned and designed, though still waiting for some beautification. The structures are there but everything is still slightly rough and has an unfinished quality.

Some actually are unfinished, but the signs show the visions for the future. The Naebu path we use all the time is this way, I am going to post about that later.

My feeling is that Seoul will be a truly beautiful place in a decade or so, when the infrastructural investments they have made in the city finally mature or are fully realized.

The parks are nice, just slightly barren, in the winter of course.

Directly across the river south of where we live is a large riverside park that also has this pedestrian bridge to a small island in the river. I took a picture but it is terrible so I will have to go back and take another.

On the other (east) side of town there is a park called Seoul Forest Park, which is not really a forest at all. It is a large and well designed park with a big array of things to do--an amphitheater, horse ring and barns, natural areas, bug house, greenhouse, a fish hatchery (I think that's what it was), some wooded paths, and many fields and other areas for recreation and whatnot. It used to be a horsetrack, now it has been reconstructed into a large park that stretches over a large stream and unto the banks of the Han.

The park has a large area given over to some kind of Asian deer, bisected by a pedestrian bridge that stretches over it for hundreds of meters.

The deer are a bit smaller than American deer.

The park is well nestled into the usual snarl of Seoul traffic and highways, but you only catch glimpses of them. Note pagoda at top of this hill.

The pedestrian bridge takes you over the highways directly to the Han, which is broad and quite beautiful at this spot, especially late in the afternoon.

It is all a very pleasant way to be outside and enjoy the winter...except for the fact that Christmas songs are inexplicably piped everywhere through these speakers as you walk through the park.

There is no escaping Christmas.

The kinds of speakers are ubiquitous in some parks here. A few weeks ago we went to Geoyonggi Province (further east) and walked along the Han at a park and also experienced the speakers every 20 yards or so, though they were playing terrible (and distorted) pop stuff.

At one point in the park there is this marker declaring the Alley of Kazakhstan . For some reason, the sign is only in English, which means neither Kazakhs or Koreans can appreciate how much this area in the park contributes to international peace, friendship, and understanding. Borat would be proud.


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