Sunday, May 6, 2018

Semiwon Lotus Garden

Semiwon is becoming known as quite the tourist destination. The site is marketed as 'the garden of water and flowers', and on this day it was particularly water-full .... it was raining, and thus the reason for going: not as many visitors AND the colors would be alive and bright.

Semiwon is located at the mouth of two Han Rivers, the Buk Han Kang and the Nam Han Kang, and getting there is quite easy. By subway, take the Gyeongui-Jungang Line and get off at Yangsu station, go out exit 1 (600 scenic meters if you follow the river path and not the ugly roadways). By bus, take either #167 from Cheongryangri station getting off at Yangsu-ri and walking 500 meters, or bus #2000-1 from Gangbyeong Station getting off at Yangseo Culture and Sports Park.

According to the tourism sign:
"A garden of water and flowers, Semiwon is a lotus flower garden that was created based on an old adage, "Cleanse your mind while looking at water and beautify your mind while looking at flowers." All paths in the garden are constructed with washboards to symbolize cleansing your mind while looking at the Han River. The river water that is drawn from the Han River is designed to flow through the six ponds, where lotus flowers, water lilies, and irises are growing in order to filter out heavy metals and suspended matters before it flows back into the river. Major facilities at Semiwon include the World Water Lily Garden, which has more than 100 varieties of water lilies; Monet's Garden, which was inspired by the flower paintings of French artist Claude Monet; and Sehanjeong Garden, which was created by reproducing a painting titled Sehando (Winter Scene) by Kim Jeong-hui (1786-1856, pen-name Chusa), a prominent calligrapher of the Joseon period. When lotus flowers are in full bloom between July and August, Semiwon is filled with beautiful scents."
Spring is on the way and small touches are starting to be visible ......... amidst the refuse of last year's garden.

"Cleanse your mind while looking at water and beautify your mind while looking at flowers." 

A museum filled with lotus-decorated objects. [An epiphany for me: while I've been aware of the lotus motif for a very long time, it was particularly interesting to see a museum organized not on the period theme but on an icon theme!]

And after enjoying the beauty of the lotus gardens, we left Semiwon grounds and across the street is a rather popular restaurant that specializes in lotus-leaf rice with diverse vegetable side dishes. Fabulous flavor on top of very unique presentation!

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