IN A busy metropolis like Seoul, people are constantly yearning to discover the next “hot” location to satisfy their wanderlust. Luckily, the city government has recently renovated an old road above Seoul station into a walkway filled with unique attractions and bustling restaurants. Dubbed Seoul-ro, the walkway has become very popular since its opening last May. I decided to pay Seoul-ro a little visit to see if it lived up to the hype.
Coming out of Seoul Station Exit 2, there is a round staircase up to the Seoul-ro bridge. You can also use the elevator. There are also a few other entrances such as the escalator across the street from Seoul Station main gate. As people enter Seoul-ro, they are greeted by a myriad of small gardens. It almost had the feeling of being a gigantic roof-top garden.
When we think of busking performances, we normally think of Hongdae or Sinchon. For many musicians in Seoul, there aren’t many venues where they can perform in front of large crowds. Fortunately, Seoul-ro has a pink compact stage in front of the rose garden for them to perform. As with most busking performances, it is recommended you see them during nighttime. With a cup of coffee or a can of beer, you can relax and hear the best that Seoul has to offer. One of the most memorable performances I saw at Seoul-ro was a man who ad-libbed song requests from the audience. I shyly approached him and asked if he knew the song, “She will be Loved” by Maroon 5. He nodded, and then proceeded to melt my heart with his enchanting voice.
Pebble Foot Pool
I was strolling on the walkway looking for other unique attractions when something caught my eye. It was a round pool filled with pebbles. As I approached closer, I shockingly discovered the water was neon-yellow! In hot weather, it is difficult for anyone to pass by this seductive sight. Inevitably, people end up dipping their sweaty toes in the water. Although you might be worried about how dirty the water will become, rest assured that the pool is drained and refilled every two hours! At first, I was also very hesitant to go in, but after discovering how sanitary the pool was, I quickly gave it a go. As soon as I dipped in, all the soreness in my feet from the long walk went away; it was like getting a food massage right in the middle of the city. I felt really reluctant to get out of the pool. In the end, I spent most of my time in Seoul-ro dipping my feet in water. This small relaxing venue set my expectations for the rest of Seoul-ro even higher.
As I walked around I could see many children all running in the same direction and being chased by their protective parents. Looking at them, I recalled the time when I was an energetic young girl who got into lots of trouble. As I was about to sink deeper into my nostalgia, I realized where all the kids were running to: two giant trampolines. In a big city like Seoul, it is very rare to see trampolines. Kids these days, including my baby sister, are more acquainted with playing on their smartphones than engaging in physical activities. By the time I got closer to the trampoline area, there was already a huge line to it. Nevertheless, I was only getting more and more excited as I imagined myself doing flips and cartwheels just like in my younger days. Unfortunately, the staff stopped me from getting in line. They said only kids under ten are permitted. It was devastating to hear. I quickly departed for the rest of my Seoul-ro journey.
Soo gook shik bbang
Right when I was starting to get hungry, I spotted a little sandwich shop called Soo gook shik bbang on the side of the bridge. I immediately grasped its popularity as a ring of people lined up outside the shop. After an hour of waiting under the grueling hot weather, I ordered a Ham-Cheese Egg sandwich set menu. Even though I had a meal just a few hours ago, the smell from the open kitchen got my stomach growling. Maybe because I was too excited, it felt like it took forever for the food to come out. When it finally did, I could tell that nothing was pre-cooked. This made the food taste phenomenal as everything was so fresh and appetizing. The fluffy eggs, melting cheddar cheese and crispy ham made my mouth water. I highly recommend this place for anyone looking for high quality sandwiches.
After an hour of walking, I needed a refuge from the burning heat. There are two buildings connected to the bridge, Seoul Terrace and Seoulista. I headed to the Seoulista building. As soon as you enter the 1st floor, there is a café where they serve the juiciest fruit-shaved ice. Chugging down huge clumps of ice due to my strong thirst, I went through multiple brain freezes. Yet, this pain could not stop me from savoring the sweet taste of fresh blueberries, strawberries and mangos. Although there were many empty sofas, I purposely sat near the window. Looking outside, you can enjoy the cool air and relish the freedom at the same time.
One note of caution is that along the Seoul-ro bridge, there are ten transparent holes where people can see the car roads below. Although Seoul-ro is not located up high and the holes are perfectly safe, you can easily get chills looking at the moving vehicles below. Even someone like me who is not afraid of heights stumbled after seeing a motorcycle flash beneath me. Those with fear of heights should avoid these holes. Nonetheless, for those who are adventurers, these holes are an amazing attraction of their own.
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Before the weather gets too cold to walk around, I highly recommend for anyone to visit Seoul-ro. Although it may take the better part of your day to fully experience all the unique places, I guarantee it will be worth your time.