영등포 여의도 봄꽃축제
Showing up somewhere on basically a whim can go pretty much one of two ways. It can either end up being amazing, or it’s a total bust. Luckily for me my weekend turned out to be the former.
I decided Friday afternoon to go to Seoul for the weekend and by Saturday at 9am I found myself pulling into Seoul Station. I didn’t have any plans until a late lunch that afternoon so I was on my own until then.
I hadn’t properly been to any cherry blossom festivals since they started blooming and I didn’t want to waste my first spring in Korea by not taking part in the massive cultural and commercial event that is “cherry blossom season.”
So after a few wrong turns and having covered just about every form of public transportation, I arrived in Yeouido. There is one street in particular that is completely lined with cherry blossom trees and is one of the most famous festivals in Seoul.
I didn’t know exactly where it was in relation to the bus stop I had gotten off at but I saw a few pink trees in the distance and decided to just head in their direction. I passed by the national assembly building and once I rounded the corner I knew I was in the right place.
I always knew that cherry blossoms were lovely but having never lived in Asia before I don’t think I could have gotten the full effect. There really is something magical about the delicate pink petals covering the trees and falling from the branches like snow. It feels special. Maybe it’s because they really are that beautiful, maybe it’s because of the fleeing nature of the flowers, or maybe it’s the culture that makes the flowers seem like they’re something more than just plants.
Either way they were beautiful, and unlike anything I’d ever seen. I know we have cherry blossoms some places in America, but I have never seen them.
As the day wore on and I walked further and further down the street, the crowds got heavier and heavier. There were families, couples, and tons of foreigners taking pictures and enjoying the scenery. Along the other side of the road there were many little tents set up with food or advertisements. At one point I even happened upon a choir singing Elvis songs in Korean.
I hadn’t actually planned to be there so early in the morning but by doing so I inadvertently beat the massive crowds that flock to this area to take pictures. I got there by public transportation at around 9:30 and when I left around 11 all the subway lines were completely blocked going in the opposite direction. I don’t often get to feel like I “beat the system” here. Living in a foreign country means I’m usually the least informed person at any given moment, but looking at the hoards of people standing in line waiting for the subway made me feel a little smug.
I left the festival street and continued to walk around the edge of the National Assembly Building which also had a lot of beautiful trees. After a little while I bumped back into a subway station and hadn’t even needed to search on a map for how to leave.
I’m very happy that I went, even if I was at the most romantic date spot in the country alone. It was really fun to just walk around with my camera and take my time strolling around to look at different things.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth the effort to go to one of these festivals I’d say that it definitely is. Just make sure to get there early and have a camera ready.
Thanks for reading!