Monday, August 20, 2012

[SUYEONG] From Centum to Gwangalli

After what seemed like an endless walk at Centum City and the sudden shortage of places to visit because of some Monday spring cleaning conspiracy of sorts among the main attractions in the area, I decided to walk all the way to Gwangalli Beach. Could you really blame me? The map makes it seem so easy. Well, it is, if your definition of easy is more than an hour of walking. What you are guaranteed to admire about the stroll though are the sights you are bound to see. If not for the sun, it would have been a leisurely walk. And so I recommend doing this before sundown. Sights? What sights?

You see, there is this river that flows all the way down to the sea. On its banks are pathways for bike and people, where your gallivanting will be taking place. Whether on bike or on foot is really your decision. From the APEC Garden/Busan Film Festival area, get to the other side of the river so you can follow the trail leading all the way to Gwangan Bridge in Millak. The walk is a long one but never boring because of the relaxed pace and enticing views.

The first bridge you see is adorned by small monuments of sea creatures, from a mermaid raising her arm holding some sort of sphere to some killer whales that seem to be humping concrete. Do not rest now. You aren't even halfway through. Once you get to the other side, that is when the long walk begins. Did you apply sun block today?

The path follows the river and your target is Gwangan Bridge, that bridge that seems to be of the same type as Golden Gate, but smaller and white. In the horizon, you will see a group of skyscrapers rising above the entrance to the bridge, which is an impressive sight that will keep you in awe for a minute or two. The juxtaposition with the bridge is a work of art in itself. It seems as though any photo you take would make for a lovely desktop wallpaper.

To cut the story short, you will end up in Millak, where they have a water park that you shouldn't mistake for Gwangalli Beach if you don't want to risk disappointment. I'm not aware if Monday is some sort of communal holiday in Busan but Millak seemed a bit like a ghost town when I was there. There were people in some areas but most of the town seemed deserted or something. Or perhaps I just got so used to overpopulated cosmopolitan cities? Wait, am I not in Busan?

Millak has a mini amusement park with a rather huge Ferris wheel and a roller coaster. The wheel was turning when I was there but I no longer bothered finding out if it was worth it. Nothing beats a stroll by the beach with a pack of shrimp crackers on one hand and a can of Pepsi on another. Luckily, Millak's park by the beach has facilities that make blocking the sun an easy feat. The place is like a quiet version of Manila’s bay walk, but mostly frequented by old people, at least on that day.

After one more year of walking, you arrive at Gwangalli Beach. Finally! No, you cannot take the metro. Yes, you can, but it means walking back towards the center, so why not just walk all the way to the beach, huh! Gwangalli is not so much of a stunner as its sister in Haeundae, but wait, there's a catch. Come here at night and witness Gwangan Bridge in all its glory. I think there's a light show of sorts but I'm not sure about the schedule. Nonetheless, I bet that bridge would be illuminated at night somehow! It would be a lovely sight, although I no longer stayed to witness it because I had to catch a bus to Andong. Some other time, perhaps. And that is Gwangalli’s edge over Haeundae, not to mention that it's less crowded here.

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