The end of our day in Seoul took us a bit off the beaten path. We had heard of the North Seoul Tower earlier when running into members of the US Olympic Team near the market. We could see it, and read there was a cable car, so we thought to just walk to find it. Had trouble finding where the cable car start was, but when we stumbled on the beginning of the walking path, we thought “why not—let’s walk to it!” Have to admit that at times during this “walk” we all seriously regretted thinking that. It was a loooong climb! Very steep steps that wound around the landscape, seemingly with no end. Probably close to an hour to get to the top. At least 1.2 kilometers according to a sign. About 8/10ths of a mile. All up steep stairs! But the views and sites on the way up were fantastic. A few pics from our walk to the top.
This is part of Namsan Park, which has quite historic significance to Seoul. From this website: “Namsan Park is a historical site. You will find Bonghwadae (beacon mound) at the top as it was once the center of capital defense. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) the capital was changed to Hanyang,(current Seoul) and to protect the city from invasions, castle walls were built on the 4 major mountains like Mt. Bukaksan, Mt. Inwangsan, Mt. Naksan and Mt. Namsan. On Namsan peak, five beacons were built to report the news from local governments to the central government with a five-signal system.”
The beacons referenced above, which is close to the peak of the mountain. Below are some historical figures honored throughout the park areas on the way to the top.
Along different parts of the path, they appear to be repairing sections of the steps, and have temporary wooden steps over them. This construction wall is covered with markings from visitors, most professing their love for each other or marking the date they visited. We observed very little actual graffiti tagging—anywhere. I was impressed by that.
Finally at the top! Welcome to the North Seoul Tower! Rather bustling with people and activity way up here, in contrast to how sparse the traffic on the path is. We felt like we returned to civilization!
Two of our party of three went up to the observation deck of the tower. The sun had already set, and it was just at probably the least decent time to see what normally is probably pretty fantastic. One thing we thought very cool was how they marked the direction of prominent cities around the world. If you stand in front of the window saying “Berlin,” then Berlin is somewhere straight ahead.
After buying a few momentos in the gift shop at the observation deck, we went back outside. It was now dark enough to see the tower lit up in all its glory, which looks amazing.
Last thing we saw before heading to the cable car (walking up the path was enough for the day), was this area filled with what must be thousands of colorful padlocks, or “Love Locks”
Really pretty amazing to see these locks. More about the Love Locks here.
The Cable Car trip down about ended our day in Seoul before catching the train back to our home in Gangneung. A wonderful journey I won’t soon forget.