Archangel's blog A pointless waste of time


Day 6

Today I actually haven't done that much and have taken even fewer photos.

The weather report said that it was going to be a cool 25 degrees and cloudy with a risk of rain in the afternoon. So I decided to brave the last of the four mountains before lunch and then try my luck at Techno Mart again after lunch.

So after breakfast I took the subway two stations away and started the walk up the hill to the village of Buam-dong where the north gate opens up to the mountain. The guidebook recommends taking a cab or bus since the village is so far away. Didn't look that far to me! Took me about half an hour of walking and that was uphill. So not so bad in my book.

I be heard that I would have to present my passport to climb the mountain but I also had to open my bag to even approach the village. I think it might be because the route I took was close by the palace and the home of the president. There were loads of police everywhere and several times a I was asked where I was going.

Once there I filled in the form and presented my passport and in return got a badge I had to wear around my neck whilst hiking. Then off I went!

The reason why I have so few photos is that they were even stingier here than on the last mountain. You're not allowed to photograph towards the city (for previously mentioned reasons) but neither are you allowed to photograph along the wall, since there are active security measures and at most places you weren't even allowed to photograph away from the wall due to the aforementioned security measures. So not that many photos. Once when I got to palace that allowed pictures the scenery was kind of boring and on top of that it was very foggy so you barely saw the view. So skipped it.

Todays trek was even more exhorting than yesterday's. Don't know if it was actually worse or my body just tired (or a bit of both). Rested for a while on a bench at the top. I'm a bit saddened by the fog, would have been a wonderful view otherwise. There was a rock at the top so when you climbed it you had an uninstructed 360-view of Seoul. Quite nice!

During my rest at the top I silently debated whether to continue on and end up where I was two days ago or go back down the same way and try one of the restaurants I had hard about in the village. On one hand i really would like to walk more on the wall. On the other hand I would like to try one of those restaurants and felt a bit spent today and it was supposed to start raining in the afternoon. As you can hear it was quite clear which won out. I started back down again and was soon glad i did when it started raining lightly.

But walking down is no fun, especially with my fidgety knee. But down i got and decided to try some fried chicken. I had read online that this place had the best fried chicken in Seoul. Turned out to be a really popular place too. Soon after I arrived the places was filled to the brim, they even moved people around to fit more people in.

The food was ok, but I might not be the best to judge since I'm not really a super fan of chicken, especially of the unboned variety... Big portion though! Most people shared on portion and when I was about to leave she tried to get me to take the rest in a doggy bag.

On my way down I again encountered lots of police. Since I was heading away no one asked me where I was going this time. But damn there was lots of them! I'm talking some at every street corner. And not on, but several. At one corner there were lines of cops in rain capes sitting down on the street, waiting for something. At the next corner there were bout 30 cops with riot shields. Then outside some shop (think it was a café) there were at least 30 more, again some with riot shields. There must have been a visit there by someone important, but still felt excessive. And there were even more further down the street. Would really like to have known why. But didn't ask and neither did I try to photograph them. Don't know the rules of photographing police in Korea and didn't feel like getting into trouble.

I then hopped on the subway and made my way to Technology Mart. And yes, today it was open! Spent a long time perusing there, even went up to the cinema on the seventh floor and considered buying a ticket. But since nine of the Korean movies had subtitles and the tickets weren't exactly dirt cheap it felt stupid, so decided against it.

Whilst walking aimlessly amongst the stalls with cameras and other gadgets I realized I don't enjoy that as much as I used to. Wondered why and the only answer I could come up with was that partly I had just outgrown it but also a big part might be that nowadays with the internet it's so easy to read all about theses things so nothing is really new when you see it in the shops. I guess...

But what did strike me was that my feet were killing me! And I had no idea what to do next. Then a stroke of genius hit me: Go to a spa!

So I hopped on a subway to a central part of town and looked for a spa I had heard about. Took a bit of walking, on sore feet, but I got there. The good thing with these spas is that you don't need to bring anything, you get all you need there. Lovely!

So after I payed and got my receipt, plus a pair of shirts and a T- shirt, I put my shoes in a small locker. I the exchanged the locker key and receipt for a key to a bigger locker. I got changed and headed down to the bath.

Here the baths are segregated, men and women separately. There are some rooms that are unisex, that's when you're supposed to wear the shirts and T-shirts. I decided I didn't need to strut around with the ladies so braved it out with the gents.

There were many types of baths; warm bath, cold bath, massage bath, cold massage bath, ochre bat, jade bath, mugworth bath and salt bath are the ones I can remember trying and then there was the jade sauna and the yellow clay sauna with salt. In the last one they had a big tub of salt that you just grabbed fists of and rubbed yourself with.

I rubbed myself thoroughly with salt, felt great. But it was of course not possible for me to rub my own back and I thought to myself "it's not like I'm going to ask one of these gentlemen to rub my back with salt". I didn't need to, one of them soon asked (when I say asked I more mean mimed. I was the only westerner here and the Older Korean men here weren't that goos at English) if I needed help with my back. When in Rome! So he rubbed my back with salt and I realized this was a "I'll rub your back if you rub mine" (first time in my life I've used that in the literal sense). So after he had rubbed my back with salt I did the same for him. I'd like to see that happen between two strangers in Sweden (not likely).

All in all I spent an hour and a half there and felt exceptionally rested and refreshed afterwards. This was really what my sore body needed. Right then and there it felt like the best spent time and money ever. Might not be really be so, but totally worth it though.

After that I took a stroll to the nearby market (the one where I was offered free booze a couple of days ago) and popped in to a small restaurant for something I had wanted to try, dolsot bibimbap. It's the same dis as bibimbap but served in a hot stone bowl, so the rise gets a bit crispy. A really nice and simple meal to round of a relaxed day with.

When I was finished it was still raining. But since it was more of a drizzle than a pour I walked a few blocks to let the food settle before I hopped on the subway and headed home for the evening.

Tomorrow I'm checking out of the guesthouse and meeting up with Jinu. So don't know if the updates will be as thorough the next couple of days but will try to get something on here.

Steps taken: 20 585 (16.24 km)

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