The area around Saejeol Station looks pretty similar to that around Eungam, a stop we visited a while back, which shouldn’t come as any surprise since it’s just one stop down the six line. You come out alongside the Bulgwang Stream on a six-lane road lined with buildings housing businesses in their first floors and apartments above.
Coming out of Exit 3 I passed a small junk yard where an old man and woman were carting things in while another guy, seated among the stacks of discarded toys, car parts, and the like, worked at repairing something. After hanging the second right, passing a sign for ‘Wes Ship Drum Studio’ painted on a tiny door jammed between buildings, and peeking in on a minivan full of napping construction workers, their Wellington boots kicked off, I came to a small alley leading to a path, which in turn led up a wooded hill.
A rough dirt walking path, dotted with rocks and covered in dead leaves wound up the hill through bare trees before finally arriving at a large wooden viewing platform at the top of the hill. The view wasn’t spectacular – apartment buildings, mostly – but you can see quite a ways, from nearby Beaknyeon Mountain (백련산) all the way to the 63 Building and Gwanak Mountain (관악산).
About three-quarters of the way up the hill I’d come across what looked to be a gravesite, and tried to give it a closer look on the way down to figure out what exactly it was. I say tried because the site, about twenty meters across, was fenced off with barbed wire, and a rusty gate at the front of it was chained shut. The site was centered around a ring of concrete running with a grassy mound top of it, looking not unlike a haystack. Half-mooning the mound on three sides were three concentric mounds of earth going up the slope of the hill, almost like seats in an amphitheater. In front of the mound two small stone pillars stood on either side, and set off just to its northeast was a stone stele. There was no information about what exactly this place was, but based just on my extremely meager knowledge of feng shui when it comes to selecting a burial site – rising landscape + mountain behind + water in front = good – I’m guessing that someone who could afford it had themselves interred here.
I followed the path down the side of the hill opposite the way I had come up, and that took me to the entrance to Sinsa Park (신사공원), which I’d apparently just been in without knowing it. To get there the easy way, just walk down Sinsagongwon-gil (신사공원길), the street directly between Exits 3 and 4, next to the fishing supplies store. A path to your left immediately after you enter the park will lead to the burial site and lookout.
If you need a snack either before or after tromping around the park you could check out the i 조아 tteokbokki stand (i 조아 떡볶이) just outside Exit 4. It’s got the usual street stall fare, but with a few small tables in a cheery interior, a tteokbokki café almost. Some of the décor might was a bit too cutesy for my taste (‘Love is patient’ verses painted on the walls), but the tteokbokki was above-average and was even cheaper – just 2,000 won – than at a street cart. The workers were also very friendly, wore berets, and served the odeng-guk-mul (the broth the odeng cooks in and that you usually drink from paper cups) in bowls with Asian-style spoons, which was generous but also a bit weird, sort of like eating a hot dog with knife and fork.
Leaving Exit 1 I crossed the stream and headed for Eungam Market (응암시장), just off the corner of Eungam-ro (응암로) and Eungam-sijang-gil (응암시장길). A half-block in back of and running parallel to Eungam-ro, this covered market hosts all the usual suspects: clothes, beans, dried fish, a naengmyeon shack, pungent garlic and fried chicken. It was surprisingly quiet, though, with only a handful of shoppers walking through it.
From there I headed back to the station and Bulgwang Stream (불광천), accessible from either Exit 1 or 2. Given the lovely weather, lots of people were out for a stroll or to walk dogs along the water sparkling in the sunlight. Like near Eungam Station, the stream here is lined with bike paths, walking paths, and exercise machines. In the middle of these on the west bank was a statue of a flying Astroboy,
and on the east bank were statues of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, standing on what looked like giant blocks of cheese.
Sinsa Park (신사공원)
Exit 3 or 4
West on Sinsagongwon-gil (신사공원길)
i 조아 Tteokbokki (i 조아 떡볶이)
Eungam Market (응암시장)
Cross the bridge, turn left along the stream, then right at Garamsol-gil (가람솔길), which becomes Eungam-sijang-gil (응암시장길) at the intersection with Eungam-ro (응암로).
Bulgwang Stream (불광천)
Exit 1 or 2