Day 5: Olympic Park; Royal Tombs; Children’s Grand Park
I spent the morning walking around Olympic Park, which is filled with sculptures as big as houses. Many of them feature themes about society’s influence on the environment, and how it’s important to be aware of your global footprint.
Later, Ashley and I met up and visited the royal tombs. The tombs date back to the late 15th century, and the city has formed itself around them. It’s an interesting juxtaposition between an ancient civilization and modern times; many old customs are preserved at the historic site. There are spirit roads which you cannot walk on, and spirit stairs which you cannot ascend. A sharp hill sits between the three tombs, and as Ashley and I were complaining about the difficult climb, a Korean man said in heavily accented English “No pain, no gain!”
That evening, I took the subway to the Children’s Grand Park, which has a zoo and an amusement park. It was similar to Seoul Grand Park, with the empty cages and neglected gardens, all overgrown and beautiful. My favorite part of the park was a building shaped like a temple, sitting above a canopy of flowering trees. I knew that I had been there before, but I couldn’t explain why. It took me a while to realize it, but it reminded me of this building I used to dream about when I was little.
My outdated guidebook said the building was a museum, and I was sad to see that it was closed. The windows were dusty and covered with peeling paper, and the bridge leading to it was boarded off. When I got close enough to look inside, I discovered that was empty, with nothing but torn up pictures littering the floor.