Day thirteen - fourteen

With a sunny day ahead, it was time for another hike. I had some breakfast and loaded up on supplies for the way (a Gimbab roll and some fried tofu skin filled with rice.) Then I took the hour-long metro to Seoul National University, where the hiking trails start. 

Exiting the metro, I was greeted by tons of hikers making their way to the trailhead. I just love the fact that there's such a big hiking culture in Korea.

Just like in the "Bukhansan" national park, there are multiple routes to the top of the mountain, varying from a gentle trail next to a stream to a route that's basically just straight up a ridge. 

The gentle trail was super busy, so I opted for the hardest route, where I only saw a few hikers on my way. The route was not just hard because of the steep ascend; there's also not a whole lot of wayfinding, meaning you have to navigate your own way up the rocks. 

On the upside, you get a much better view up the ridge than following the trail along the stream.

While stopping for a short while, I met a fellow hiker for a chat, and he offered to take my photo and gave me some chocolate for energy. 

The peak was crazy busy; there were a couple of hiking groups, and there was a 20-minute queue to take your photo with the sign that tells the mountain's name and height. (Many people tend to hike to collect these photos.)

I didn't join the queue and instead opted to eat lunch and do some people-watching instead. The make-up of climbers is incredibly diverse, from groups of students to senior citizens, with the stamina and determination that I hope to possess at that age and everything in between.

I didn't feel like taking the same trail down, so I wandered around, looking for a different trailhead. The trail following the stream was busy, but there was another ridge trail on the other side of the stream, which required a steep ascend over some rocks to find the start; this filtered out most of the other hikers, and I had the trail to myself. 

My goal in finding the lesser-used trails is not to avoid people, but my pace tends to be faster than average because we Dutchies are taller, and this has a bigger stride. It's much more exhausting not to be able to walk at your "standard" pace.

The weather was perfect today, with a sunny 18 degrees and a slight breeze, and after an hour or so, the increase of volume in chatter announced the end of the trail, where the other trails merged. 

From here, it was another 40 minutes back to the metro station and the train back to the hotel. 

In the evening, I wandered through the alleys near the hotel and found a nice burger place for dinner. 

Day fourteen

The next day the weather was back to rainy and I opted to head to the shores of the Han river that flows through Seoul and wander past all the activities going on for Easter Sunday.

The afternoon and early evening were spent people watching with a nice beer and delicious noodles and preparing for the flight to Beijing the next day.