Destination: Son Gi Jeong Park

It's fairly rare to have a park named after a person. It's even rarer when that person is someone most Koreans couldn't tell you about. Depending on how you transliterate 손기정 into English, it can be 'Son Gi Jeong', Son Ki Jeong', 'Son Gi Jung', 'Son Ki Jung', or just 'Songijeong' as one of the signs put it.

Destination: Seosomun Park

Every now and then I get a question asking me if I always give positive ratings to the destinations I visit. My answer? Not always and not in every case, but in general I'm very impressed with Korea's selections of places to see. While my usual high expectations haven't changed much since I started keeping the taeguk ratings (see here for more information), this is one place that is currently better for the locals than the tourists.

Destination: Dongdaemun Culture and History Park

Although the larger part of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza won't open until 2011, the nearby Dongdaemun Culture and History Park recently opened in late October. Still hidden from the crowded Dongdaemun street, this newly completed area impresses with attention to detail.

Across the street from Migliore, Hello apm, Doota, and hidden behind a still-under-construction Dongdaemun Design Plaza, there’s little indication of anything being finished. It’s here that the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park has recently been opened.

South Korea Trip- Jinhae 진해

Alright you can check out the video of my trip from Busan to Jinhae in South Korea. The trip in total was 122 kms. I rode the #2 highway to Jinhae and back. On the trip I checked out several parks including Dream Park, Energy Park and Marine Park. I got to ride in an electric car and almost saw a wall fortress. I hope everyone is well. I am currently in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is snowing here which seems crazy for October. Well at least I get to leave in a week. Each video is a one day trip. I start the day with no plan other than a final destination. By the end of the day I have compiled 2-4 hours of footage on two cameras.

Destination: Cheonggwonsa - a shrine, a tomb, and a forest to boot

Like most shrines located in Seoul, Cheonggwonsa (sa can mean either temple or shrine, thus Cheonggwon Shrine) preserves memories of the past so as to be understood for the present and future. While not precisely a tourist site - and definitely not touristy in one area - it's a quiet and peaceful place to get away from city life.

Destination: Ppuri Park (Daejeon)

Offering a look into the origins of Korean family names, Ppuri Park (뿌리 공원) combines history and beauty in Daejeon. With 136 statues recognizing as many family names and origins across the Korean peninsula, it's a chance for the locals to learn more about where their family names come from. For us foreign visitors, it's a chance to learn more about how much Korean family names mean to them.

Destination: the NEW Yeouido Han River Park

After being closed for nearly a year, the Yeouido Han River Park is back and better than ever - mostly. Yesterday was considered the grand opening of the park to the public, and unbeknownest to me, there was to be a fairly grand ceremony to go with it.

Since the ceremonies were still a couple hours away, I had time to walk about the renovated areas. Gone are the stairs leading down to the water's edge and that angled wall with blocks sticking out. Instead, you now have this:

Destination: Yuldong Park (Bundang / Seongnam)

Yuldong Park is somewhat known for being the only place to bungee jump in the area - but there's plenty more to do beyond jumping off with a giant rubber band attached to your body. Opened in 1999, the park offers a large lake, a 4km walking trail around said lake, and a few surprises up the hill.

Life in Korea: playing Korean chess

Source: Wikimedia (all other images taken from this one)

A note to my wonderful veteran expat readers: 'Life in Korea' posts are aimed primarily at the newer expats among us. Think of these like the 'Idiot's Guide' books - an introduction for some, a review for others. If I missed something or you can clarify, comment away!

Destination: Paris Park / Omok Park

Parc de Paris in French, Pah-ree gong-won in Korean, or Paris Park - anyway you say it, it's still a beautiful park. Originally built in 1987 inside an area with many apartment buildings, it serves as a symbol of friendship between France and Korea. Leave it to Korea for getting the gesture right - it was built only a couple years after Seorae Village got its start (Frenchtown, if you will) - albeit on the other side of Seoul. In any case, the sentiment seems to have been appreciated.

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