Monday, 26 July 2010

Wet Weekend in Gangneung

At the end of last month we went on a weekend trip to Gangneung, a small city on the east coast of Korea in Gangwon province with a bunch of fellow Gwangju Native Speaker English teachers. We were really looking forward to this trip as it had been a really hot, humid week and we had been stuck at school working. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a really wet, miserable weekend that was even quite chilly at times. (so glad I brought a hoody with me unlike pretty much everyone else we were with). I suppose it was the start of the rainy season in Korea so we should have expected it really.

There was a large, possibly artificial lake, in Gangneung with a cycle path circling it. It would probably have been quite pretty on a sunny day.

Pier out onto the lake.

4 seater bikes for hire to ride around the lake. We went to the Gangneung Town Centre which was a cab ride away from the coast where we were staying and missed out on a mass bike ride around the lake. D'oh!

This Korean family managed to do a circuit of the lake on one of the big bikes though. There were at least 6 people piled onto the bike.

The guy who organised the trip had booked a couple of huts by the beach for everyone to sleep in but they turned out to be really small so Rowan and I chickened out and stayed in a nice motel instead - we're getting so old! The idea of sleeping on the floor in a tiny room with 6 other drunk people just didn't appeal somehow! Still they were a good base and the beach was lovely and sandy.

The beach hut that we didn't deign to stay in.

This was a little girl who was staying in another one of the beach hut rooms with her family. She was showing us her (dead) pet beetle.

A close up of the pet beetle and it's home.

We got the chance to fly our lovely kite for the first time since we've come to Korea. It was really windy on the beach so the kite was pulling hard which was exciting if a little tiring.

Despite the weather we still managed to have a good time and saw some interesting stuff. We caught the last World Cup match that South Korea played in i.e. the one they were knocked out of. We even managed to have a barbecue in the wind and drizzle - very British (even though most of the people there were Americans)!

Luke tends the barbecue with the traditional chopsticks. We cooked our own sam gyop sal.

This guy was staying in one of the other beach huts. He found it fun to run up to the foreigners with his live octopus and wave it in our faces to scare us!

Gangneung was host to a couple of slightly bizarre museums including this Gramophone Museum and...

...The Edison Science Museum.

Seemingly Gangneung's one and only nightclub. Tasteful décor no?

This is a typical Korean male shop dummy modelling snug boxers. They always seem to have the boxers very well stuffed in the crotchal regions!

A cool sculpted fountain in Gangneung that was beautifully lit up at night.

This is Jung Ang Market in Gangneung. It was covered and fairly big with the usual complement of food and spice stalls.

Spices, pickles and dried anchovies on a stall in Jang Ang Market.

Dried fish stall.

Soy sauce marinated crabs anyone?

Basket of fresh fish in the market.

Gangneung is quite far north so not that far from the border with North Korea. This meant that there were some rather interesting and unusual sights to see if you looked carefully.

One of the three bunkers built into a hillside on the main road from the sea to the town.

A rather decommissioned looking tank pointing out to the Sea of Japan in a defiant pose.

This is the beach outside the hut/chalet that the other teachers had hired. The white building to the left behind the green fence seemed to be a guard house. Soldiers came to it every night we were there and stood guard all night. One of our group tried to talk to them but they didn't seem keen to chat.

We caught a coach back to Gwangju and the route through Gangwon-do took us through some fantastic scenery. We could see mountains below the road we were travelling on, their peaks partially obscured by cloud and more mountains towering over us with their peaks hidden by further layers of cloud. It was a breathtaking sight, especially for someone like me from the flat lands of Norfolk!

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