Kayaking is such a fun activity and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy it. The best thing you can do, if you are new to kayaking, is to take a course on it first. Of course, you need to know or learn how to swim, as well. Learning how to kayak and swim can take a few weeks or even months, depending on the individual. Well, this isn’t about that, but rather the great time I had in Seoul, kayaking and listening to opera music. I’ll never go kayaking again without my opera songs, and many of you reading this won’t forget yours either, after you try it.
This past July, I had gone to Seoul on a five day trip for a conference. The conference itself was for three days, and I used the time to make some new friends. Within this period, I got to know six people who were attending the same conference. In the course of our conversations, we found out that we had one thing in common, kayaking! So on the last day of the conference, we decided to go kayaking before we had to fly home.
We went to the Han River in Gwangjin-gu district because it was close to our hotel. Around 2 PM the next day, which was a Saturday, our little group jumped into a mini bus provided by the hotel where we were all staying. There were also two guides who went with us, and it was a short 15 minute drive from our hotel.
When we got to the river, we were amazed by the beautiful scenery of Seoul’s Gwangjin-gu district, while our kayak and supplies were being readied. One of us, an Australian lady named Kayla, had come along with a waterproof Bluetooth speaker. “Are you going to play music while we are kayaking, Kayla?” I had asked her. She smiled and answered. “Yeah, it is fun and a great relaxing therapy. I have a great collection of opera music. I’m sure you would love it if you want to ride close to me.”
Well, since we were kayaking with Sun Dolphin Bali 10 SS kayaks, which can only fit one person, I decided I was going to ride alongside Kayla and test her theory of the relaxing effect of listening to opera music while we were out there. Although in my mind, I believed it was a crazy idea, but I was going to give it a try.
Everything was ready and it was time to get into the water. Since it was a hot afternoon, we decided to take a swim first. We had already put on our swim suits at the hotel, so all we had to do was take off our outer clothes and, splash! We were in the cool water, swimming away the afternoon sun. After splashing around for almost an hour, we boarded our little kayak boats and headed out onto the river. The Han River snakes peacefully through the city like a giant highway of water. It was beautiful, paddling gently and taking in the city scene on both sides.
As I was paddling along with Kayla in near perfect synchronization, a calming tune of lyrical poetry waltzed to me in floating rhythm, like the smooth undulation of the Han River we were paddling on. The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was playing from Kayla’s Bluetooth speaker. The effect was calming and as I listened, the distant city noise was slowly drowned out and I was teleported into a world of total tranquillity and peace.
I never knew that listening to music, particularly opera, while kayaking would be this calming. My arms effortlessly worked the paddle as the soothing sound of Mozart crooning about love washed over me. I didn’t feel a single strain or exhaustion. Wow, kayaking had never been this fun!
As we paddled along, the music kept changing from one opera song to the other, from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro to Beethoven’s Fidelio and back to Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Kayla did indeed have a great collection of opera songs. She even had Bellini, Rossini, and Puccini’s Nessun Dorma that evoked ardent romantic feelings in the listener. The music made me fall in love with kayaking all over again.
I would tell you that there is no experience as pristine and refreshing as listening to opera songs while kayaking. There are loads of songs to choose from, so you have the choice of listening to the ones that appeal to you personally. I would advise you to give it a try, and you will forever fall in love over and over again with this beautiful leisure sport of kayaking.
By the time we were done, the others were exhausted, but Kayla and I were still full of bubbly energy. None of the other guys had come along with music. Was I lucky to ride with Kayla? Sure, I was and now I know I’ll never go kayaking again without my opera songs.