Monday, January 22, 2007

Seoul 360

So my trip up to Seoul Tower yesterday started with the 'thousand stair march'. There are literally 1,000 stairs up the side of Namsan mountain to the tower.

Namsan park is probably the only place in Seoul that caters to blind people. It is really nice for them. The pedestrian walkways immediately surrounding the park have audio signals that indicate when it is safe to cross. (How they get through the city to those pedestrian crossings is completely a mystery because the rest of the city seems to forget that there might be blind people in its populous.) The walking trail then is nice and wide and looks like a road but is completely devoid of cars. The last time I hiked Namsan I passed five different blind people and this time I passed another one. They walk the trails completely independently.

People seem to walk the stairs whenever they have a free hour. I was sweating as I went up but then I passed four guys in business suits and dress shoes. That couldn't have been comfortable.

Immediately below the tower is a nice courtyard area. A lady was selling cotton candy with a foot-pedal operated machine.

Kids were feeding popcorn to a flock of pigeons. It was very summer carnival like.

Once at the tower, 7,000 won got me an elevator ride the observation deck. 380 some feet above sea level. That's it. You hike up this massive mountain. Then ride really far up in an elevator and your only 380 some feet above sea level.

There was a really nice view of the city. On all of the windows around the observation deck, there were mileage distances for world cities. Good to know! (Question...Is it still called mileage if you are counting in kilometers?)

I rode the elevator down and then walked down the stairs to the cable car station. I paid 5,000 won for a cable car ride down to the bottom of the mountain.


Mark said...

Great blog.

re: accessibility in Korea. Don't all the streets in Seoul have those markings "rumble strips" on the ground to help blind people?

WF said...

Many do. I never thought about their purpose before though. The concentration of blind people around Namsan just struck me because I've only seen one other blind person in Seoul. He was wandering around the Subway completely lost. I wanted to help but the language barrier was too great and I couldn't even do charades to communicate. I didn't want to freak him out. Fortunately another couple offered some assistance.

Anonymous said...

Did you buy cotton candy? Yumm!

WF said...

I was very tempted...But no.