Even though I live in the country, it’s nice to get away sometimes. And, because I’m surrounded by beauty, I thought I should check out some of the local sights. My friend Clara was all pumped to have a relaxing weekend away from Seoul, so the two of us headed east.
Doing research the way I love to do, I found way too many things. This region is not rife with historic artifacts like the southern region is, but it IS full of sublime vistas of natural beauty. So, to get our feet wet I chose Gangchon and Munbae, and then a brief un-planned circuit of Chuncheon. The timing of pre-season May was perfect, even though many of the famed flowers were not yet in bloom, because right now the trains east around here are so packed with Koreans escaping the city that it’s hard to get a seat and every remote path and every lodging is booked, and even then it was a bit crowded. So here are some photos from our two day get-away.
We rented bikes and followed signs up to Gugok falls. Which was really a workout for us soft English teachers using bikes whose gears didn’t work!
After we got back to town, we stopped for cappuccinos and had some fun hitting balls in a batting cage (and I missed 98% of them!) Then we tried to find a place to sleep for the night.
An enterprising ajumma tried to get us to rent a room from her and she lead us up these stairs to check out the room, past the sauna below:
We decided it was too early to retire and waited at the bus stop to head to Chuncheon. It was running late, so we brown-bagged some makkolli and enjoyed our wait in style. As soon as we got to the bus terminal, we asked a taxi driver to take us to a cheap hotel (well, Clara asked for a cheap hotel since she took real classes and can speak survival Korean whereas I can barely speak at all) and we watched a movie.
In the morning we checked out and walked around Chuncheon – which is, really and truly, one of the most beautiful cities in the world because not only is it surrounded by mountains, but also it chose to preserve its lake-front/river-front location with public access, parks, and amenities, and all the bridges crossing it are a visual delight.
The island was like this giant picnic spot and it was a real family place. It also had cabins for rent. We stopped and napped under a tree before heading back to our respective single foreigner English teacher lives to prepare lessons for the next day. It would be nice to just be a tourist in Korea. Superficially, this is an awesome place to visit, but the jury’s still out on if I’d want to live here. I guess like most places, the good and bad kind of cancel each other out. I’m sure it is different for those that have meaningful relationships.