When I first came to Korea *cough* 7 years ago *cough* I remember spending my free time searching for interesting things to do and places to visit. Thanks to the Colorful Daegu blog I found many such things close to home and quickly had a long list to fill my weekends and holidays. As is my normal tendency though, I found so many different events, temples, festivals and fun weekend get away ideas that it wasn't possible to check them all of my list. My friends and I were often taking off for the weekend, weather it was for a festival, such as the Lantern Festival in Jinju or just a weekend away in Seoul, we often took advantage of the efficient and affordable Korean transport and got out of Gumi. This was great, but it also meant that I often overlooked what was nearby and thus I never properly explored Daegu. Since leaving in 2014, I'd come back to visit Daegu a few times and often had grand plans which never unfolded as expected. Finally though, I've crossed one of those early "too see" off my list with a solo visit to Kim Gwang Seok Street [김광석 길] last week.
I've been living in the KNU (Kyungbuk National University) area of Daegu since returning and have taken to walking to most of the places I've needed to go thus far, not that walking everywhere is new to me. I have to walk a good 10 minutes to the nearest bus stop, so I usually just end up continuing. Daegu station is really only about a half hour walk and the main downtown area is just over that. 김광석 길 is along the river and knowing that every river in Korea is lined with paved, clean walking paths I figured why not just take this route from campus. The walk took nearly an hour, but while listening to podcasts it passed much faster. All of these walking paths are actually one of my favorite things about Korea, they're literally everywhere and studded with mini outdoor workout stations, bathrooms and other activity areas. If you have the time, walking in Korea is much more interesting and generally must more relaxing than taking the bus. Although the one thing missing here is the right of way for pedestrians, cars still rule the road here. (Proof in Andong).
Coming up from the river walk near Beomeo intersection, 김광석 길 is literally right there. I feel like this place has gained popularity since I first heard of it, but that may also just be my general interaction and exposure to other Koreans. Despite it being the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday there were dozens of visitors, most of seemed to be middle school students on a field trip. I noticed many in uniform and while that's no guarantee they were in school at the time, most were working on a scavenger hunt or assignment of some sort. To some the street may be too much, lined with tons of kitschy coffee shops and trinket stores, but having been in Korea as long as I have I expected nothing less.
I didn't have that long to explore as I was meeting a friend to discuss business, yep you read that right, one week into my new life here and I'm already attending mid-week business meetings. After meeting my friend I told him that I had picked that area as I wanted to visit 김광석 길 before our meeting and he was surprised. He told me he'd always wanted to visit there, but still hadn't, so I guess I'm not the only one that kept prolonging my visit. After our meeting I led him back to see the paintings, coffee shops and trinket stores for himself. He was very amused by the situation, telling me he planned to tell his friends about how a foreigner introduced him to a new place in Daegu.
Where to start. After living in this country for three years I have memories, experiences and stories galore. I'll now always be a bit partial to the Land of the Morning Calm. Filled with delicious foods, beautiful nature and friendly people, I'm always happy to return.