Published: June 28th 2012June 26th 2012
Well I am still listing this location as Seongsan (had to get the blog people to list it so better use it twice) and did spend only the evening in Jeju after all.
Having wisely headed off backwards towards Jeju to the lava tube yesterday (it would have been impossible to park my bag back there etc ) today it was a relatively simple matter of leaving it at my hotel while I headed up Ilchulbong, which is the rather abruptly rearing green mountain outside my window . Regardless of the hour the path is always crawling with tourists and the car park full of tour buses. The ticket office actually opens at 4:30 AM because for Koreans it is a rite of passage to climb it and see the sun rise -- it's English subtitle is Sunrise Mountain. Anyway with the totally overcast weather today sunrise would have been a complete non-event this morning. The light fitting boxes beside the path effectively count off your progress I realised as they count down to number one. When you finally get to the top there are a number of timber platforms from which you can look down into the green crater,
Ilchulbong viewing terraces
and mighty windy they were too
which I have called a Lost World. Iit looks much better and more spectacular from the air and no doubt also in the sunshine, which is why I will post a picture of it from this perspective.
The wind was completely still blowing a gale and even on the path up, not to mention the exposed top, was at times extremely gusty. However it is obviously much easier going down. Decided to find this restaurant recommended by the Lonely Planet called Gombawi. The LP recommend their pheasant and buckwheat noodle hotpo , which sounded mighty fine to me (pheasant is supposedly a local specialty but I never got to eat it -- as to the black Jeju pork see later). The LP is now five years or so old so the dish seems to have disappeared from the menu. Instead I had a straight bibimbap which is just a mixture of rice with vegetables and some meat and a raw egg broken onto the top which you mix all up. That was fine to keep me stoked for a few hours.
Having checked the ferry times over to Udo Island the previous day I walked down to the
Ilchulbong vue of Seongsan
the water is rather white!
terminal. It was still blowing a gale and the water was fairly white cappy. However as the supposed departure time neared I had to ask where they sold tickets as nothing appeared to be happening. The crossed hands indicated however that the ferry was off, no doubt because of the weather. Just as well I did not go over in the morning and get stuck there then!
So back to the hotel and grabbed my bag and waited at the bus stop for a bus back to Jeju-si. Arriving at the terminal it was wet (again) and I knew it was too far so got a taxi back to the street of the motel Bobos. Decided I would instead try the somewhat bigger Tapdong Hotel across the road. They wanted 55,000 for a room with computer - as I had paid 40,000 over the road I indicated that I would go there. She then dropped the price to 50,000, effectively taking off the additional price of the computer. It wasn't worth that actually as the computer kept rebooting -- however I did not care as all I wanted was the LAN cable to plug into my laptop.
to so-called Black Pork Street and despite my experience on my first night here, when a place appeared to not want to serve me as a solo diner, another place, which was actually next door, was my first choice . There were lots of locals in, there were plenty of friendly staff, English subtitles on the menu and it seemed to be very well run. So the place called Hwaro Hyang (its name was outside) definitely gets my recommendation. Naturally I had to try the local black Jeju pig pork. This is cooked on a sloping hotplate in front of you, angled to drain off any fat. Naturally me being a newbie at this the staff assisted in cooking it for me and then cut it up into pieces. The usual routine would then be to wrap it up in the supplied lettuce and another spiky green leaf I have not seen anywhere other than Korea. Although I have been off the beer, because 500mls is just too much for me to drink, I nevertheless did have a bottle with this well prepared feast. And the food only cost me about $13.
There are more photos below