Friday, September 26, 2014

Seoul-searching Day 2: Banpo Bridge

A whole afternoon of rest was enough to re-energize us. Come night time, after having our dinner we headed to Banpo Bridge. We took the train from Sinyongsan Station (Line 4) which crossed over the Han River to get to Dongjak Station (2 stops away). 

From the station take exit 1 or 2 which leads to the park along Han River. From what I've read, this should be a good vantage point to watch the light show on the bridge. There were bikers using the same road as the pedestrians so if you happen to be in this place better watch out specially if you're going at night. We walked closer to the edge of the river where other people were sitting on the benches at the park just under the bridge, some people brought along picnic mats and set them on the grass patches. There were piles of ruble that kept the kids entertained while waiting for the show to start.

We were there before 8pm because I've read that the show starts at this time. We waited for 10 minutes, then 20, then 30 and there was nothing. We were glancing at the other people there who looked like they were also expecting something to happen by now. We all had this confused look on our faces. They were probably also  wondering what happened to the scheduled light show. By the time it was 930pm we already gave up waiting. It seemed that we all waited in vain. When I was reading about how magnificent the light show was I was hoping we could also experience the same thing. The kids would have loved to see dancing fountains. I did double check the schedule for the light show and there should have been one. Unless there was a sudden change in schedule that, unfortunately, I didn't know about. 

It was really disappointing. Although I have to say it wasn't really for nothing. We were able to appreciate the Seoul nightscape from where we were sitting. 

On our walk back to the station we stopped by the causeway bridge where my sis-in-law brought the kids to the top using the service elevator. It gave them a different view of the nightscape from the top of the bridge.

Day 2 ended at a low (missing out on the light and fountain show) but it could have been worse. We were just thankful that my brother-in-law felt better towards the night, and the kids were able to enjoy the simple pleasures of running around in the rubble while waiting for the lights at Banpo Bridge. Knowing a little bit more about Korea's royalties in the past and their lifestyle while visiting the shrines and palace gardens has given us the day's much needed cultural dose. 

Travel tips of the day:
  1. Anticipate unforeseen circumstances every time you travel and prepare to make deviations from your planned itinerary. Travelling is not really all about following your schedule to the dot all the time. It's about enjoying the journey - whether there is a delay, or you're lost, or someone falls ill, or baggage gets lost, or the show you're expecting didn't happen at all.
  2. Double check schedules of shows you're planning on seeing when you arrive at your destination, specially free shows/performances. There may be last-minute changes like what happened to our Banpo Bridge visit.
  3. I suggest visit the nearby cafes by the river which are also good vantage points. Having a few drinks while looking out at the nightscape and waiting for the light and fountain show should be relaxing enough. 

are you ready for Day 3???

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