City blooming with flowers of spring

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City blooming with flowers of spring

Where’s the best place in Seoul to enjoy the harbinger of spring? How about Yunjungno, located on Yeouido island in central Seoul, where white cherry blossom petals drizzle down onto the roadways. North of town, Children’s Park in Neung-dong is also abloom with apricot blossoms and goldenbells.
Starting with the Yunjungno Cherry Blossom festival, which got under way yesterday, Seoul gorges on a feast of spring flowers. Families, lovers and friends alike take to the streets to revel in the sweet fragrances of spring.

Yungjungno, Yeouido
The best time to enjoy the flowers is this weekend, when 1,620 cherry trees will be in full bloom. The trees, planted thickly along the avenues, form tunnels of cherry blossoms, their small, white petals falling like rain. What makes a better weekend picnic than getting soaked in this flower shower?
Yunjungno’s cherry trees were planted in 1968 when the government began to develop the area. The trees, however, were not meant to be aesthetic. City officials were trying to build an embankment around the area to prevent flood damage.
Cherry trees start to wither after 60 years; the ones in Yunjungno are 35 years old now, meaning they’re at their peak.
Alongside the cherry blossoms, a traditional Korean percussion performance will greet crowds tomorrow and Tuesday at 4 p.m. A police band, accompanied by officers on horseback, also performs from tomorrow to Monday.
Through Wednesday, visitors can join a singing and dancing competition at the south gate of the National Assembly. In the rear of the Assembly, the Yeongdeungpogu District Office is hosting a photography exhibition. The cherry blossom festival continues through to April 12.
The city is urging festivalgoers to keep their vehicles at home. Until the festival’s conclusion, traffic will be strictly controlled along the 1.7 kilometer-long (1 mile) corridor from the tip of Seogang bridge, past the National Assembly to the Pacheon bridge.
You can’t use the road from the Mapo bridge to the Olympic Highway either. Using public transport is recommended. You can reach Yunjungno from Dangsan Station using subway line No. 2 or via Yeouinaru Station on line No. 5.
Buses 1,008, 63 and 703 also go to the venue. If you want to picnic, bring along food and drinks. For more information, call (02) 2670-3310.
Children’s Park
In this city park, you can enjoy a variety of spring flowers such as cherry blossoms, apricot blossoms, magnolia, goldenbells and azaleas. From tomorrow, the park hosts a spring flower festival, which runs until May 30. During the festival, the park is open until 10 p.m.
Along with the flowers, Brazilian carnival dancers will perform the samba every weekend, a show sure to please visitors, and fireworks are planned for each evening. Near the Ecology Pond, a China Culture Festival is also taking place, ready to greet visitors with circus performances. On weekends in the zoo, visitors can take a photograph with four baby tigers. For more information, call (02) 450-9328.

Other places
If you want to lose the crowd, old palaces in central Seoul are the place to be. Small neighborhood parks like Songpa Naru Park are also recommended. Even among Seoulites, not many realize that the city has about 50 streets where you can enjoy the spring flowers. Mount Namsan is another place to get into spring, along with Mount Ujang in Gangseo-gu district, western Seoul, and Mount Gaeunin in Seongbuk-gu district, northern Seoul.

by Yang Young-yu
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