Chusok Pt III: Backpacking-ish

For a 3 day trip I sure did have a lot to say. Getting out of Suji made me appreciate it much more than I had been and the first significant trip definitely deserves some attention.

Once we got there we tried a few motels & a hostel we knew about, but we got two rooms at the 3rd motel, and wound up playing cards all night on Sunday and 4 of us crashed in one room and 1 of us in the other room. Eh, it's all part of the fun. The second night we stayed at a Hostel which is run by an awesome guy who's fluent in Korean (obviously), English, & Japanese. We paid 50,000 Won to have his master guest room, which had 3 rooms, 4 big beds, and a common room. It was really spacious, very clean, had a big bathroom, free coffee, and for 5 of us to pay 10,000W each? I won't complain. We called him Willie because he only has one eye (a little insensitive on our parts, but we didn't disrepect him). If anyone sees this and is interested in going, it's the Seo-Cheon Guest House and his email address is if you'd like to tell him you're coming. We just walked in and he said to come back the next day and all was well. I have his card and phone number, so if you'd like more information, just email me.

The nice thing about the hostel the second night was the random people we met. Hostels are the poor man's way to travel, but they provide the most entertainment, and a certain amount of ease. Four of us sat around the table in the common area late monday night and two guys knocked on our door wanting to know if they could have a cup of coffee with us. So we invited them in - they taught directly in Seoul and were from Florida & Montreal if I can remember correctly... had excellent conversation about teaching in general, and we suggested some places for them to see. About an hour after they left, one of my crew was having a smoke out back and I heard an extra voice. So we invite the extra voice in, and play a round of cards, but more importantly talked about his bike trip that day fro Seoul to Gyeongu (keep in mind it took us 4 hours on a bus), and about his years of experience teaching in Korea & Hong Kong, and we all talked a bit about our experiences, and just had a really sweet night. In fact, I have added his blog to the right side of my blog, so make sure you check it out - he had some kind words to say about his occurence with us!

Due to the rain I feel we didn't get to do as much as I had hoped, but I enjoyed it all nonetheless. We took a bus out to the Sea of Japan when we got there on Sunday to see the Underwater Tomb of King Munmu. After an hour and fifteen minutes on the bus through the windy mountains we finally saw the ocean - the angry angry ocean. The sky was dark, the sea was loud, and full of deep blues and greens, and waves taller than me. However, we weren't sure of the stop and once the ocean became a distant memory we got off in a random rural town. Everything kind of looked run down and there was no sign of anything really. A korean man with decent english walked over and asked of us if he could help, but he pointed to an area on the map and said that we were there, but we all knew we weren't. So we thanked him anyway, walked on to show him we appreciated his help, but once we were out of sight we took the map back out. That's when another korean guy about our age got out of his car and asked us if he could help. He then told us in really good english that this was his home town, and we stuck out like sore thumbs. He even walked us to our bus stop and told us what time it would come by, and I was seriously impressed by his generosity. So awhile later, we got to where we were going... to see some rocks:

I expected this tomb to be much more grandiose, as it is billed as the world's only underwater tomb. King Munmu in the 1300's believe that he would come back as a dragon to protect Korea against invasions from the Japanese if he were to be buried in the sea. So his ashes are placed in the center of that rock formation in a pool underneath rocks. It was still a cool place to see though, and the waves were pretty intense.

Monday wasn't any drier... we went to the Korean Folk Village which was primarily closed due to Chusok & the rain:

And then we moved onto the Bulguksa Temple, which was the highlight of the trip for me. A temple that had been burnt down by the japanese was rebuilt 50 or so years ago, and has a number of pagodas housing shrines to various types of Buddha's. I managed to take a few illegal pictures:

Overall an excellent trip, and a very beautiful part of the country. I recommend it :)

(mounds that are traditional korean tombs for royals)