Blooming Into Seoul

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Flower viewing, or 꽃구경, is very popular in Korea. They have special events and parks for cherry blossoms, roses, and more. Cherry Blossom season in South Korea is from late March to Mid-April in different parts of the country, with Jeju being the first place and Seoul being one of the last. This is one of the prettiest times of the year in Korea. One can go outside and see the trees in most places. Whether it be just walking down the street, going to a park, or going on a hike. These trees bloom in different parts of Korea at different times, they also vary in species depending on where they are in the country. On the streets by Korea University, there were a few of the trees on each road. One night I went to sleep and the next day I saw them blooming on my way to class. I also called my mother at 10 pm, 9 am for her, to show her the trees on the street I got dinner on.

While being able to see the trees while walking to class was nice, going to Hangang River Park was even better. There they had trails full of the cherry blossom trees, where tons of people were around taking pictures and having picnics. Normally the park is not packed, but that weekend, there were people helping to direct the subway traffic by the entrance to the park. There were even barriers to make sure people only walked on certain sides for traffic flow. While on most days, you can find people selling mats and handing out flyers for food delivery, this day they were everywhere. Just walking out the subway, I ended up with six flyers to order fried chicken or pizza. You are also able to rent bikes at this park, and they line which is normally nonexistent, was filled with families and couples waiting to rent a bike for an hour or two.

I did not realize the sheer amount of people that enjoy this season. I went by myself just to bike and look at all the flowers and ended up there for most of the day. There were younger families taking pictures of their children’s first viewing and older families taking group photos that they probably take yearly. There were couples on dates take pictures together and apart, just having fun together. And similarly to me, there were travelers experiencing this for maybe the first time. The ambiance of the park was just joyful everywhere you went. People were kind enough to take some pictures for me since I was by myself at the time.

Sadly, it poured the next week, so the cherry blossoms did not stay in Seoul for long. But starting Mid-May, Seoul’s rose season begins. My friends and I went to Jungnang Rose Park, which has kilometers worth of roses of all different breeds everywhere. We walked up and down to see all the roses. And just like Cherry Blossom season, there were tons of groups and couples together eating and taking pictures. It was honestly just nice to see so many people out enjoying nature together. Back home I often go on bike rides or longboarding around parks , just enjoying nature. But I feel that it’s more common in Korea for people to go on hikes and walk around no matter their age. I wish there was some kind of yearly nature event where I lived that was like this, not a music festival or something like Butterfly World, but something where I only had to pay for the journey to experience something beautiful and not pay for the experience itself. I hope I get to see these beautiful flowers again in Korea.