I’m stuck at home with the flu as I type this post, but I’ve found a way to cope with the fever: replaying memories of one bitterly, bitterly cold February night in Seoul, when I went for a nighttime walk across the Korean capital’s slick new linear park.
This wasn’t my first time on Seoullo 7017 (서울로 7017): the long concrete flyover near Seoul Station that was permanently closed to vehicular traffic in 2015 and reopened as a pedestrian walkway in 2017. My previous visit took place last summer – just weeks after the grand unveiling – and I quite liked going for a stroll along this new garden in the sky, admiring the views of central Seoul that can be enjoyed from this elevated vantage point. (Click here to read my report on that experience.)
Let’s pull out some pictures from that earlier visit to see what this place looks like in the daytime.
Fast forward a few months … to 18 February 2018. I’d spent much of the day in Suwon, but now I was back in Seoul and feeling reasonably well rested after warming up in my hotel room. With the night still fairly young, I decided to venture out for one last bit of sightseeing before calling it a day. Since I was based within a stone’s throw of Seoul Station, which was itself right next to Seoullo 7017, the pedestrian park struck me as the easiest choice for this final burst of pre-bedtime activity.
From underneath, Seoullo 7017 looks much like a typical concrete flyover…
…but heave yourself up to the former road deck and it’s another world entirely.
As you’ve seen in the pictures I took during my summertime visit, this walkway looks more like a proper park in warmer conditions, when the vegetation is at its best (i.e., not dead or covered up for the winter). This being February, a cold month in a cold season in a city known for its fearsomely cold winters, most plants that weren’t of hardier stock were hidden away for protection…
…with twinkling light installations brought out in their place, ready to supply splashes of warmth and colour for those willing to brave the freezing nighttime air.
It was a pleasant experience … though perhaps not something I’d care to repeat anytime soon. Not in these temperatures, anyway. But in more hospitable conditions, I wouldn’t mind coming back for another stroll, perhaps with a beverage in one hand and a tasty treat in the other: a chance to unwind in this urban oasis above the heaving, congested streets of the Korean capital.