Published: May 29th 2007May 29th 2007
Moments like these...
You don't plan it, don't expect it. But there are times when you are in such a beautiful place, at such a beautiful time, that you can't do anything but stop and stare in silence.
So you've had enough. You've just finished teaching hundreds of Korean kids for 6 days in a row and the one thing that's kept you going is the though of a 3 day weekend. Finally it's here. With Cathy taking the lead and doing all the planning for this trip I'm completely ing the dark. All I know is we're off to the coast. And that's good enough for me. We both decided that after our tough hiking weekend we were rather looking for peace and relaxation.
Feeling a bit more Seoul-wise these days, we managed to catch a bus down to the leeetle town of Seosan without much trouble. Here we found the one reason for stopping, a fantastic old fortress from the 1400's that has been carefully restored. Wandering around the old buildings and courtyards in the hot sun, we could almost imagine the children playing and daily life that would have been in that exact place so many years ago.
As is so typical of this country, the street is one big contrast. Across the road from the old fortress, a line of Harleys stand shining in the summer. This is not backstreet gang, these machines
Land of Contrast
Traditional handmade pottery and a line of Harleys in the background
belong to the sleepy farming community's 9 local policemen.
Our nest two bus journeys took us to the beachside town of Mallipo. We had planned to only visit the beach, but found that our 4pm bus was the last one out of the town for the day. Oh, well. Guess it's Mallipo for the night. We started to wonder around looking for a place to camp. Cath liked the idea of a small forest on piece of land that jutted out into the sea. I was all excited by the idea of wrapping our backpacks in dustbin bags and swimming the 100ish metres to a forested offshore island and camping there for the night. As were walking along the beach discussing it, the sub started to slide towards the horizon. The incredible sunset settled the matter for us. We would pitch our tent right there, on the beach.
A bit unsure of how legal that would be, we dropped in at the little police office at the beach. The two young policemen seemed surprised that we should even ask, but we glad to meet us (despite being almost completely unable to communicate with us). One made coffee while
Visiting the old restored fortress
the other ran off to buy us ice-creams. Incredible. We keep being shamed by these people's hospitality.
Within minutes we had our tent pitched, and our noddles-and-dumplings supper quickly cooked on the little gas stove and tucked away. All that was left was to wash it all down cheap Korean beer and enjoy the last of the sunset waiting for it to get dark enough for us to set off the fireworks we had bought at one of the little beachside stores.
By the time it was dark and we headed off to the water to wash off our supper pot, the tide had backed so far down the shallow beach that it was possible to walk to the island that I had wanted to swim to earlier. What a laugh that would have been!
There are more photos below