Every autumn, since I live next to Namsan, I make sure that I pass through this mountain to observe the Gingko trees' annual changing of their colors. In spring and summer, their leaves are green. But when the cooler temperatures of autumn descend upon Seoul, they gradually lighten up to yellow-green, and then to yellow, before they all fall off from the branches before winter.
This year though, I noticed that the changing of the colors was not synchronized. In early autumn, some Gingko trees were already turning yellow, while the ones next to them were still green. Even the Gingko trees in my Hannam-dong neighborhood were also unevenly yellow and green. I found it weird. Something has messed up the carotenoids of these trees. Global warming, perhaps?
It has always been a spectacle to see these trees in their yellow glory when struck by the autumn sun at noon. A couple of years back, I walked through the Gingko road in Namsan and enjoyed an afternoon autumn trek. This year, I wanted to retrace my steps and relive the experience.
The road that traces the southwestern side of Nam-san is perhaps, the highest busiest road in Seoul; that road from the Grand Hyatt Hotel up to the Millenium Seoul Hilton. I don't know if Namsan is the only mountain in Seoul where, up there, public passenger buses still keep their routes. If it is, then the these roads, which have the highest elevation in the city, are also the busiest since they allow traffic to go around it. I guess, since Nam-san is the geographical center of Seoul, it was commercially viable, not just to drill tunnels through it, but to also spend a lot of money in chiseling roads around it, so that the mountain doesn't become a hindrance in connecting everyone from around city.
And thanks to this road, everyone passing and driving through Nam-san's southwestern side is always rewarded with a view of the west and southern Seoul. You can see the tall buildings of Yeouido and even the mountains in the south.
And these views are even more conspicuous when you're up the NSeoul Tower.
And this year, on my annual autumn trek on Nam-san, the Gingko trees and the colors of the mountain didn't disappoint. As you can see from the photos, it was still a delight to see these yellow Gingko trees, especially when the day is cool and the skies over Seoul are clear and blue.
So, who wants to join me next time when I again enjoy Nam-san's changing of colors?