I went to Seoul for the first time yesterday, and was absolutely mesmerised. The city is a giant metropolis of sky scrapers, neon lights, outdoor markets and about 12 million people. It is truely a global city, home to the headquarters of many of the worlds technology giants, businesses which line the Seoul skyline.
Coming from the rural town where I’m currently living, I knew Seoul was going to be a serious challenge for me. With more than 8 million passengers a day, Seoul’s subway system in one of the largest and busiest in the world. For this reason, I felt like a sardine in a can while everyone pushed and shoved their way past me. You can leave courtesy and chivalry far behind you when on the subway..fight for your space or prepare to be squished.
I met up with a fellow foreigner and we headed to Seoul Racecourse track. I have been horse racing before but this place was unreal. A race course of contrast with a high tech,modern stadium of mega proportions looking out onto the track surrounding by lush green mountains with city views to the far left.
There were simply 1000’s and 1000’s of people camping out in this huge, modern betting emporium many of whom seemed to have been there all day.
After struggling to understand the betting ticket due to it all being in Korean we set about picking horses to bet on. As we could not figure out how the odds worked we simply picked the horses which looked best or had the funniest names…I got lucky on numer 6 ‘Drill Ship’, who came in at 12:1 and I landed myself a return of 24,000 won. (About 20 euro!!).
As the last race finished and our pockets were considerable lighter, we headed back towards the subway…with the other 10,000+ spectators. It was an absolute nightmare as we were pushed along from behind, finding it difficult to breah in such a small enclosure along with the hot weather and high humidity levels.
Once back in the city we headed to Namsan north of the river, home to Seouls resident mountain. We saved ourselves an hour long hike by catching the cable car to the summit, which had views that were nothing short of spectaular. We then ascended up even higher to the N-tower which has 365 degree views of the city, which had suddenly transitioned from a mass of grey buildings to a sea of shimmering, glittering neon signs, and a rainbow of flashing colour. Seoul had come alive.