Gaerong Station sits at the southeast corner of the large Ogeum Park (오금공원) that we visited when we went to, er, Ogeum Station, so you can get the skinny on the park at that post. The one difference that I’ll point out is that the part of the park across the street from Exit 1 also sits next to a big apartment complex, so this end has a bit more rest areas to stop and settle, compared to the heavily treed west half.
Like the neighborhoods around other stations we’ve visited on this side of town, there’s an emphasis on keeping things green, and most streets are lined with trees. The best place to enjoy that around Gaerong is at the Seongnae Stream (성내천), which you’ll also find by going out Exit 1. To get there just keep walking straight for a couple blocks.
We’ve been surprised at how often urban streams have popped up in the course of our wanderings – there are a lot more in Seoul than you’d expect – and in my opinion the Seongnae, which runs from the edge of the city near Cheonma Mountain (천마산) through Olympic Park to the Hangang, is perhaps the nicest. Its brown water meanders past banks of reeds and pebbles, and was moving quickly due to the recent rains when I visited. Stepping stones and wooden bridges cross the stream, and a drooping willow sits on an islet in the middle. The standard rubber walking and biking path runs alongside, but there’s also a series of sculpted lily pad pools. Tiny wildflowers dot the banks and quiet opera is piped through the speakers that line the walking path. Just west of where you arrive coming from the station is a pair of wooden stages and fountain pools.
In the other direction, through a shaded wooden canopy over the path, is a long series of splash pools that were filled with hundreds of kids on a recent hot and humid Saturday. Although the water was maybe a half-meter deep, a good percentage of the kids were wearing flotation devices. As their families watched from tents set up on rubber mats nearby the little guys played with squirt guns and beach balls. Fair warning: the adorability quotient here is through the roof. So is the indiscriminate water splashing, so watch your step.
Just past the splash pools to the east is what the station map labeled the Best View Point (우수조망며소 (성내4교)), which is a semi-circular platform big enough for about two people on the bridge above the stream. The view west down the stream is all fine and good, but you’re much better off buying some cotton candy from one of the many nearby vendors and heading down to the stream below. If your stomach needs something more substantial there’s a row of casual restaurants – jokbal, seolleongtang, beer and chicken – on the street parallel to the stream’s south bank.
My only guess as to why they call that little semi-circle the Best View Point is that it’s because, standing there, you have your back to the eyesore that is the hulking Seoul Ring Expressway (서울외곽순환고속도로), its hulking concrete trunks holding up a highway canopy.
If you walk straight out of Exit 3 down Ogeum-ro (오금로) at the corner of Ogeum-ro-48-gil (오금로48길) you’ll see a tall black and gray column with gold lettering announcing Gaerong Gol Admiral Street (개롱골 장군거리). I strolled down 48-gil, which was mostly restaurants, and couldn’t find any information on what Admiral Street is or why it’s there. Readers?
For another park, Gaerong Neighborhood Park (개롱근림공원), head south down Dongnam-gil (동남길) from Exit 4. Across from the Ssangyong Plaza building the park’s up a small hill from the street. Because of its hilly setting, the park is terraced: sloping paths connect small areas of exercise equipment with playgrounds and pavilions, one of which was occupied by a circle of a dozen old ajummas enjoying an afternoon chat. The setup gives the park an intimate feel; you can be in one area and feel relatively secluded. The largest area is located in the center of the park, where there’s one of those soccer-volleyball courts. A four-on-four game between some middle-aged men was going on when I visited, and nearby some noisy kids kicked a soccer ball and a pair of women walked a dachshund.
Ogeum Park (오금공원)
Seongnae Stream (성내천) and Best View Point (우수조망며소 (성내4교))
Walk north for two blocks
Gaerong Gol Admiral Street (개롱골 장군거리)
East on Ogeum-ro (오금로)
Gaerong Neighborhood Park (개롱근림공원)
South on Dongnam-gil (동남길)