Day 167 – Gangham style

In slightly comical fashion we manage to pick up our Japanese Rail Passes (we ended up in the office of a travel company call centre) and then explore more of this great city.

The orderliness and calm we saw yesterday in the more picturesque and tourist areas of the city appears to be present everywhere.  It’s busy, with cars and people, its just that they are fairly quiet…unless you account for the clothes.

Residents of Seoul are a fashion conscious bunch and wherever you walk you will see people that have spent a good deal of time, effort and money to look good (the success of this is arguable from a western european point of view).  Shopping areas are large and filled with many designer brands, and also lower cost options that offer a similar if slightly renamed alternatives (who rather calmly clap their hands in an effort to attract attention rather than shouting).

Clothes shops are matched in number and variety by food outlets, and in particular street food, and the quality is extremely high.  There is so much of it that 3 meals a day feels insufficient and over the course of the day I am sure that we grazed more than we should over the course of the day….its a good job that according to Nik’s UP we are averaging 12km walking a day or else we’d be the size of houses!

As we stroll down the Cheonggyecheon area – a recently refurbished inner city river area – we notice the almost total lack of rubbish bins.  You can spend a good 30 minutes walking with an empty bottle in your hand without seeing an appropriate receptacle though despite this Seoul is one of the cleanest cities we have visited ever.  We wish that cities in the UK could be half as clean.

To end our day we board a cable car to scale the largest hill in the area to see the city move effortlessly from sunlit urban sprawl to neon lit metropolis under the shadows of the Seoul N Tower.  I love big cities, they are full of life and energy, but I particularly love them at night when the lights give them a unique magical feel.


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