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It’s springtime, let’s go all out!

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Unique cafe, My Allee 

It was a fine sunny day; with the gray chilly winter still lingering, I got into my car to drive out for some fresh air. I set my destination as My Allee in Gwacheon, a café and restaurant renowned for the greenhouse-style building containing beautiful and fragrant flowering plants. Located at #17 of Sambugol 3-ro in Gwacheon-si, My Allee is easily accessible by public transportation. A more comfortable journey can be provided by subway than buses, and Seonbawi Station of Line 4 is closest to the café.

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Driving my own car, I turned right at Exit 1 of Seonbawi Station toward the rear entrance of LetsRun Park (former Seoul Racecourse Park) and turned left at the footbridge toward Gwangchang Village. Then I drove straight until I reached a junction, turned left, and continued until the “Sambugol” signboard. After driving for 300 meters, I saw ad signboards that read “design allee” and “studio September.” The main building of the café-restaurant, which is open from 11:00 to 22:00 and located at the end of the driveway with spacious parking lot, was black, but the guests inside it are all in brightly colored clothing as if to make the most of the warm, bright sunny spring day.  

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I ordered a cup of coffee and took a seat at the sunny side of the greenhouse to enjoy it. The wood turning green outside the window made me feel as if I were out on a picnic. Everything that my eyes could see showed that spring had arrived. There was a relatively large vegetable garden outside that, I heard, provides fresh vegetables used for the dishes prepared by the restaurant. Then a few beetle images dotted here and there caught my eye, informing guests about the Design Shop on the second floor. The healthy meals with farm-fresh ingredients, stylish household items, lounge rental programs, and other features make Allee a multi-functional cultural space, not just a simple café. It would provide its guests with an opportunity to spend a day like a joyful concert to be enjoyed with loved ones, families, and friends who can try the rooftop vantage point overlooking a fine landscape or use an open space around the café for fun outdoor activities with children.

I decided that, before I leave, I should have a closer look at the interior of the café building and take pictures of the exquisite decorations, including the large painting of a bird on the wall, magenta threads decorating the stairway railings leading to the second and third floors reminding viewers of royal azalea, nicely exhibited ceramic works, and snug sofas in the third-floor rest area. Before I knew it, it was time to leave, but I hope to visit again someday. The number to remember is 02-3445-1794.

Secret Garden, Gwacheon Flower Market

I went back to my car and drove to Yangjae Station because I wanted to see spring flowers.

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 A large billboard, Gwacheon Flower Market, drew my attention as I passed by Yangjae Station. The address of the flower market is 434-6 Juam-dong in Gwacheon-si, although it is closer to the District of Yangjae in Seoul. If you want to get here via public transportation, take a train of Subway Line 4 and get off at Seonbawi Station. Then you need to get out through Exit 4 to board bus 917, 1103, or 441, which brings you to the flower market after five stops. If you have your own car, drive between greenhouses and flower beds containing numerous flowers. Visitors to the flower market may find that there are not enough parking spaces, but if you chance upon an empty parking slot, take it and follow a yellow signboard to walk into one of the plastic greenhouses and prepare to be overwhelmed by the strong, bright colors of spring flowers.

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The beauty of the flowers in the greenhouse reminded me of a secret garden of royal palace . I was particularly attracted to the sweet little plant called Pink Quill (Tillandsia cyanea) whose arching, narrow green leaves that are draped down looked like the long beard of a hairy old man. There were daffodils with golden yellow petals, grape hyacinth with violet blossoms emitting a sweet fragrance and, of course, roses whose exquisite beauty and fragrance stood out.

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Numerous flowers were displayed on low tables with thick legs, sold at about 30% lower prices than in ordinary flower shops. They say that the most popular flowers these days include reindeer moss because it is known to be effective in reducing the moisture in the air and soothing atopic dermatitis, nasal inflammation, and sick building syndrome. They were surprisingly cheap. So I bought a few pots together with some succulent plants with yellow and red blooms that clearly announce the arrival of spring. The market has about one hundred shops, but remember, they are all closed on Sundays.

Iconic attraction in Gwacheon, Seoul Land

For spring flower lovers, Seoul Land should be number one in the list of their day trip destinations. Located on # 181, Gwangmyeong-ro, Gwacheon-si, the famous amusement park is easily accessible by public transportation (Exit 4 of Seoul Grand Park Station, Subway Line 4). The park is now bustling with crowds of travelers participating in the Early Spring Flower Party. The first festive event that visitors are invited to after they pass the main entrance is the Frankie Flower Garden where the spring flower show is held until March 19, to be followed by the Cartoon Character Flower Festival held from March 22 to June 6. The garden is now crowded with families with children spending a joyful time with colorful and fragrant flowers, the gem of which is the Flower Carriage, and sweet drinks called Flower-ade decorated with petals of daffodil, plum, and Cyclamen. Visitors to the garden are also offered an exciting range of spring food, such as sprout bibimbap, soybean paste stew with freshwater snail and shepherd’s purse, and blood clam pasta, which they can enjoy in a scenic floral environment with rose-gold pussy willow, Cyclamen, tulip, forsythia, and plum blossoms. For more detailed information, call 02-509-6000.

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Spring has finally arrived with brighter sunshine and warmer air. If you want a joyful springtime with your loved ones, why don’t you try My Allee where you can enjoy fragrant coffee with attractive flowering plants, Gwacheon Flower Market, which would give you ample ideas to decorate your home with adorable springtime flowers, and famous amusement park in Gwacheon, Seoul Land where families with children get to spend a joyful time with delicious food and exciting festive flower shows?

 

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