Jeju is an Island off the SW coast of South Korea. We have been wanting to go there for almost 2 and 1/2 years, so finally we had a couple takers, (Mike and Carla) and we went. We flew out of Seoul Friday afternoon (after a 4 hour wait because of a delay) and arrived in Jeju City around 3. (it’s only a 1 hour flight) After a bus trip to the rental car place, we were on the road in our rental car (a Hyundai Avante–pretty sure it was run by hamsters) to Seogwipo, the southern tip of the Island. It was only about 40 miles, but it took us an hour and a half to get there. Jeju City traffic made us feel like we were still in Seoul. But hey, we were on vacation, and Andre’ is an excellent driver, so we did just fine.
After getting settled into our hotels rooms, Mike had spotted a “Black Yak” store as we were approaching our hotel, and he wanted to go do a little shopping. Black Yak is a Korean Clothing store that specializes in anything “outerwear” and has some really nice hiking gear. Mike was looking for some hiking shoes since we were planning to do a bit of hiking in Jeju and they were also going to go hiking in New Zealand after leaving Korea. We were very successful with securing a pair of hiking shoes for Mike, but no…………..he did not buy Black Yak. He ended up with a brand called Marmot, and I am pretty sure they are made in the USA. (nice job!)
After that, we were all starving, so we headed out for a Korean BBQ. Jeju is known for its “black pork” and we wanted to give it a try. We are not really sure why they call it black pork. Maybe because the pig is black………..we really don’t know. But anyway, the BBQ was good. (sorry, no pics of us actually eating, but this is the restaurant we went to)
Friday evening found us back at the hotel teaching Mike how to play Whist. It was an on-going adventure, but I do have to say, I think his brother-in-law (Carla’s brother) will be happy we spent some time helping him out a bit.
Saturday morning we started some sight-seeing. Jeju is also known for it’s beautiful “natural” tourist attractions, so our first stop was Cheongiyeon Falls. (only a short distance from our hotel)
So glad some of the info is in English. 🙂
Andre’ and Mike spotted this little contraption in the parking lot. Isn’t it cool how you can take a walk behind tiller and make a driving automobile out of it? Well, I was impressed.
Then we walked past a harbor and over a really pretty bridge to a small island that at one time had been farmed by people who lived in Jeju. Now it is more of a National Park, and people can walk around this little island and have some pretty views. It was about a 15-20 minute walk around the island. (the first picture is of the bridge on the way back from the island)
(a panoramic view of part of the harbor)
After our “island” hike, we headed back to the hotel so we could rest our feet for a bit. Andre’ had to do a bit of work, so I took Mike and Carla to an open market close to the hotel. They had some pretty good street food and we did get to see a good display of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and jeju chocolate for sale. Mike bought a carrot to eat, and Carla bought jeju chocolate with mandarin orange flavoring in the middle. We were all happy. I was a bit tired after the open market so Andre’ was ready to relieve me of my “tour” duties, and he took Mike and Carla to another Waterfall while I took a nap. This time they saw Jeongbang Falls. It was a short walk from the hotel, and I was happy to have a little snooze.
After that little excursion, it was time to head back to the hotel, shower up, and attend 5:00 Mass. I had scoped out a Catholic Church close to our hotel (from Google) and we got directions from the gentleman at the front desk. We had already found the church when we went out to dinner the night before, so off we went. (this picture was taken from the top our our hotel. The church is the big building in the middle of this picture)
It was an interesting Mass. Because it was a “children’s” Mass, there weren’t many people there. And of course, we happened to hit First Communion weekend. Korean Catholic Mass is structured the same as all Catholic Masses, it’s just said in Korean, but we brought our prayer books with us, so we had the readings. Of course, you don’t get much out of the sermon, but it is a nice experience. The priest was very “energetic” and was asking the kids questions. They would raise their hands from the congregation, and if they would get the answer right, he would pretend he was a horn, make a very cute trumpet sound, and they would run down to him and he would hand them a small piece of paper. Not sure what that piece of paper was all about, but the kids were sure happy to get it. Maybe it was for a free ice cream cone or something. We don’t know.
At the Sign of Peace, the priest asked us in English where we were from. He then welcomed us, and after the initial ‘sign of peace’, all of the children in the congregation came back to our pew and gave us the Sign of Peace. They do it a bit different in Jeju though, and that was pretty fun. They first crossed their arms over their chest, and then gave a doble high 5 to us. It was so very special. At the end of Mass, the whole congregation clapped for us, and it was such a welcoming experience.
After Mass, we stopped at a cute little restaurant and had some dinner. The food was really fantastic, and we weren’t the only foreigners there, so we had an idea the staff might speak a little bit of English. Andre had some awesome fish and chips, Carla had spaghetti, Mike had a burger, and I had a chicken salad. No complaints.
Again, the evening found us back to the hotel for some cards, (Mike was still “in training”) but after just a game or two, we decided to hit the hay and get some good sleep. Tomorrow would be another long one, and we didn’t want to miss a bit of it.
More to follow.