Well, I’m sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop in Busan, in South Korea. Its been rather an epic journey getting here from the ski camp in Yong Pyong, involving numerous hours packed in a 12 seater bus travelling along windy roads through the countryside.
I’m recovering from my stomach bug I caught a couple of days ago. I still can’t handle much in the way of Korean food, but I’m really hanging out for a nice steak or a burger.
Last night we stayed at Cheong Seong. In what we have decided is typical Korean fashion, we slept in a large relatively featureless room, on top of thin slightly padded mattresses. With no milk for breakfast, and no shops open, we settled for museli bars and vegemite or jam on bread for breakfast, before adventuring out on a hike at a Korean national park. The term hike is used pretty loosely, since it was more like a walk.
The scenery was pretty spectacular, despite the greyness and dreariness that winter brings. There was a frozen river running along the track, which we crossed several times using ornate stone bridges. Naturally, the chance to fool around on a frozen river proved irresistable for some. We saw some frozen waterfalls, interestingly shaped rocks, and vending machines out in the middle of nowhere. There were a number of interesting looking buildings right at the start of the hike too.
It was interesting to notice several Korean women arriving at the hiking trail wearing high heels – not the most practical choice of footware, given that the track was in patches icy and quite slippery. They proved to be a stark contrast to the majority of Koreans, who had with them some quaint collapsible walking canes.
After our hike our bus driver guy took us back to where we were staying, where we had lunch. We also took the opportunity to explore the building we’d stayed in – I have a photo of it. It was quite an unusual building, 4 stories high, with a golf practising range of sorts set up outside the top story – a flat space with a net hanging out into the nothingness.
After lunch we caught the now familar yellow 12 seater bus for the several hour trip to Busan, where I am now. We passed multitudes of intricately terraced rice fields, as well as the occasional cabbage field and vineyard. The biggest clue of our proximity to Busan (apart from the street signs, pfft, who reads them) was the re-appearance of massive clusters of condominiums, interspersed with myriads of tiny shops, selling everything you could imagine.