The weather these past two days has been very cold. And I mean very cold. But, on the bright side, there is no pollution whatsoever, and it feels great to breathe in fresh air.
Yesterday it was officially minus 17 degrees celsius, but real feel was minus 20 degrees celsius. So naturally, with weather like that, my roommate and I decided that today would be the day for a three hour walk out in the cold.... No really that is what we decided.
Because despite the cold, the sky was clear and the sun was shining and the cold crisp air meant that visibility would be a maximum, so today was the day that we decided to walk to Namsan.
Now we could just have done it like normal people and taken the subway to a nearby subway and walked just the height of the mountain, or even more like normal people, have taken the cable car to the top, but no... We decided to walk the three subway stations and then up the mountain and the hundreds and hundreds of steps up the side of the mountain to reach the top.
It was good exercise and the brisk walk kept us warm for the most part.
We had estimated that it would take us three hours, but the walk itself, back and forth, ended up just taking us two hours. From Ewha to Namsan and then back again.
Ewha is at the bottom of the mountain to the left of my head (I think). The temple we visited the day before is on that mountain top (again... I think).
Despite how cold the trek was on the way home when our hands were frozen from holding our phones (my phone died from the cold - twice), and despite our legs being frozen too, it was the perfect day for a trip to Namsan.
It was a weekday, which meant fewer people. Winter, which again means fewer people. And also: it was damn cold, which, you've guessed it, again means fewer people.
The view was great. We could see far and well. All the way to Ewha, and beyond. Across the Han River in the opposite direction, to Gangnam and beyond. We could see it all.
The snow on the mountain slopes made everything look prettier too.
We were so cold and exhausted by the time we reached the top of the mountain though, that we stopped to buy some (overpriced) street food near the top. My roommate enjoyed a twisted potato skewer while I had a korean hotdog (sausage on a stick, surrounded by bread and then fried - it's heaven)
The man who sold it was impressed with my Korean. It's always fun when they ask me for how long I've been here and learning. They always ask how many years I've lived here, and when I answer: two months, their eyes widen and they get this look of incomprehension, so I tell them that I lived here six years ago, but they still can't quite comprehend it, because my korean isn't just textbook korean.
Yesterday was the first day in six years that I cam back to Namsan. Six years ago I went here on my own during the hot hot summer, and posed in front of Haechi who is the mascot of Seoul.
Six years later, I posed with Haechi again and apart from the weather, not much has changed.
While today was spent walking unto Namsan, today was spent at home, cleaning and working and (I suspect) going to sleep early.
It was just that much colder today that it would not have been fun to be outside for more than five minutes.
Tomorrow will be worse and I'm heading out then so for today I'll stay inside where it's nice and warm and where the floor is heated and there is a nice bed.
But tomorrow is a new day, and a new day means more exploration...