To give you an accurate idea of what there is to see and do around Gubanpo Station, suffice to say that I knocked this post out on my lunch break.
Rather odd in that all three of its exits come out on the same side of the six-lane Sinbanpo-ro (신반포로), the station dropped us off in an area lined with low, three-story buildings filled with the usual: fried chicken joints, pharmacists, convenience stores, etc. Outside Exit 1 and across the street, one place that did manage to catch our eyes with its warm light and bright colors coming through the dusk was a small hanbok shop. The exceedingly friendly proprietress was gracious enough to welcome us in and allow Liz to take some shots of the interior and of the shelf taking up one wall where spools of fabric rested one on top of another. The bright primaries, pastels, and shiny metallic fabrics wrapped around the dark recesses at the center of hollow cardboard tubes created an image that seemed almost digital: a pastiche of color offset by circles of black.
After leaving the hanbok shop we turned off the maid road and walked past some run-down apartment blocks of the kind we saw a bit further east at Sinbanpo Station.
There was also a small park where, oddly, a half-dozen piles of yellow sandbags sat.
If you continue to follow Sinbanpo-ro southwest or meander through the backstreets as we did you’ll come to Banpo Stream (반포천), which eventually empties into the Han River just east of the National Memorial Board National Cemetary (국림현충원 국림묘지). We followed the stream east for a while before finally finding a place to access it, as it’s at a lower level than the nearby streets and separated from them by a steep and wooded embankment. Once you’re down there, however, there are biking and walking paths and small stepping stones crossing the water every so often.
Continuing to follow the stream will bring you to the southwest corner of the Banpo Sports Complex Center (반포종합운동장), the northeast corner of which we found when we were at Sinbanpo. Then we visited in the day; this time we were there at night, but there were still people out playing hoops, despite the dark and the cold. This corner of the complex also houses some covered tennis courts, which I hadn’t noticed before.
Since we were (roughly) in the neighborhood and Liz hadn’t been there, I insisted on visiting Le Alaska Boulangerie Traditonelle again, even though it kind of bent our station jurisdiction policy. I make no apologies. Their stuff is the business.
Slightly warmed and sugared, we returned to the Gubanpo area and, from Exit 2, walked northeast in the direction of the Han River and Banpo Han River Park (한강시민공원 반포지구) passing other apartment complexes, a playground with colorful metal equipment, and pausing to stop in at a toy shop, half for the warmth, and half for the novelty.
We kept thinking that we’d come across the park entrance any minute, but there was nothing until we finally arrived at the same entrance I’d used on the Sinbanpo visit, meaning if you’re in the neighborhood and planning on visiting the park, get off there. And if you’re in the blogosphere looking for information on that section of the park, get off here.
Banpo Stream (반포천)
Turn left out of the exit and follow Sinbanpo-ro until it meets the stream
Banpo Sports Complex Center (반포종합운동장)
Cross Sinbanpo-ro and turn right at Sehwa High School (세화고등학교). It’s behind the school.