Just some simple reasons I loved Seoul in the spring.
When you walk around the old parts of the city, it’s not long until you spot someone in a traditional hanbok. Koreans, and some tourists, seem to enjoy dressing up and roaming the city in beautiful dresses and daring hats. Whilst many may just be doing it for the photos, I did get a sense that people were genuinely proud of their culture. Old and new are not in rebellious conflict, they reside amicably side by side.
I also got the sense of a surrounding wisdom enveloping the city, probably because this people’s history goes back around 5000 years. Street sellers made delicate stringy sweets which looked like the stuff that caterpillars spin for their cocoons, with a skill which must have been passed on throughout several generations. The Buddhist temple of Jongyesa was particularly pleasant to visit, with the wind blowing around fluttering colourful lanterns perched like paper butterflies alongside one another. They were guarded by enigmatic warriors made of plates of metal.
Nature plays a powerful part in the energy of the large city. Cherry blossoms bloom on the sides of the road, forming snowy blankets, and you can see grassy mountains on the horizon. What struck me in particular were the streams – I had come across canals and rivers in cities, but not little streams as I saw in Seoul.