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Published: August 9th 2012
28th Jul: A lovely day relaxing at home. My train didn't leave from Seoul until 11pm, so had plenty of time to get there. I had never heard of the station, Cheongnyangni, before, but it was easy to find. I got to the station early, picked up my ticket, had a coffee, and watched some TV, alternating between the Olymiopcs and a historical K drama. Not that I could understnad what was going on in either of them.
The train left at 11 on the dot. It was a mugunghwa, an older more peasant express train, than the KTX, however you were allowed to breathe on here. The staff aren't Nazis like the KTX staff. Managed a little snooze.
29th Jul: After stopping at a million stations, w arrived in Jeongdongjin at about 4:30 am. I have always wanted to come here as when I saw it in a guidebook, it looked quirky and different to almost everywhere else in Korea. I was quite gutted you couldn't get straight from the train to the beach, as I was led to believe, as there is a big wire fence in the way. However there are load sof steps to sit
on, so I watched the sunrise from there. The sunrise was really beautiful, and haven't seen many of them. But I think I prefer sunset, as usually the sky looks a bit more dramatic.
After the sunrise I went for a walk along the beach, it was really nice as it was quite, I bet later in the day it would be heaving. I went to Hourglass Park, not Eggtime Park, as I had recently called it to one of my co-workers, when we were trying to think of the English word and I was like, oh it's an egg timer. Lol. The reason loads of people come to Jeongdongjin is that it was featured in a korean drama called Hourglass. I stopped of fat 7/11 for breakfast and sat out in the sun for a while. I had a lovely holiday feeling. After another little break on the beach I decided to go and see the sights. I couldn't figure out the bus so ended up in a taxi.
The taxi took me to Haslla Art World first, as it was meant to open at 7 am and it was stiil shut when I got there at
7:20. I took a little wander around, the views of the sea were stunning from up here. Really beautiful. Then the bloke came to open the ticket office about half seven. the ticket was 10,000 won and included the outdoor sculpture park and the indoor museum, which was holding a Pinocchio exhibition. The park was really interesting, and there were many cool sculptures, I liked the big metal spiders and other critters that were on one piece of grass. However I did kind of expect more sculptures. Eventhough it was only 8 am, it was already baking hot outside, so it was a nice relief to get into the museum. The Pinocchio exhibit was really cool as you had to walk through a random tunnel, that had white plastic bags all scrunched up on the floor, and reddy pink lights shining through. They were also playing the Pinocchio carton, so I sat an watched that for a while, whilst resting. There was something a bit sinister about some of the Pinocchios.
I asked the woman at reception to call me a taxi and my next stop was Unification Park. After buying my ticket and enquiring about the bus to
Gangneug, I headed to 7/11 to make use of their air-con and get a drink. It was so hot and the sweat was pouring off me. I downed a bottle of water and then took it a bit more slowly with an iced tea. Then I went to look at the North Korean submarine. Boy, it was small. I wouldn't of liked to have been one of guys inside. There was little room to move and it was very hot. I noticed there were some aircon units, I eonder if there were already in. Anyway a little bit of history about the submarine. On 18th September 1996, the North Korean submarine with 26 North Koreans on board was spotted after infiltrating Aninjin-ri, Gangneung. The North Koreans went on the run, but all were killed or captured, mostly killed. The park was set up "to inform people about the North's violation of the armistice agreement and its desire to communize the entire Korean Peninsula." That quote is from the leaflet the wife gave me about the museum.
There was an old North Korean fishing boat, which was used by people to defect to the South. It was quite sturdy, but
I don't think I would like to sepend a few days on it in the rough seas. I can't even imagine how bad people's lives must be, that they do these things to have a better life. I'm so lucky, in that respect. In the park there was also the retired South Korean naval ship, Jeonbuk. The ship was huge and it was really interesting to have a look around, as I have never been on a warship before. They also had a coffee shop that I made use of. Another interesting thing was at the edge of the park there was a watch tower, with some South Korean soldiers looking out over the sea, to make sure no more ships would attack and I also saw some soldiers jogging along the beach earlier. I don't really see any of that kind of thing in my day to day life.
I took the bus from just outside the park to Gangneung. The bus took around half an hour and when we got to Gangneung we had to switch to another bus to take us to the bus station. When i arrived the tourist information office was shut. But luckily
the bus that takes you round all the sites stops right in front of the station. So I got on and got ready to listen out for the stop I wanted.
I got off the bus at Ojukheon. Ojukheon is the birthplace of Sin Saimdang, the paragon of Korean womanhood, according to the Lonely Planet, also famous for being on the 50,000 won note, and her son, Yi Yulgok, a philosopher, government offical, and his face adorns the 5,000 won banknote. It is also one of the oldest survivng Choseon dynasty homes. The place was really beautiful and I had a good look around. It was nice, as I haven't been to see any Korean historical places for a while. I especially loved the gates with the middle bit of the taeguki painted on them. Sin Saimdang was an accompished artist and poet, and she is regarded as THE model mother, daughter, and wife in Korea. That's a lot of living up to. Women's groups were annoyed that she is on the 50k won banknote, as it's a bit anti-feminist to have a housewife on it, as she devoted all her time to teaching her son. However the museum
was a bit of a let down, loads of old chopsticks.
My next stop was Gangneung Seongyojang. It was only a couple of stops away on the bus, but with this heat there was no way I was walking. This building also dates back to the late Joseon era and is over 300 years old. Traditionally, it was a home for an aristocratic family, that were descendents of King Sejong's brother. the federal and local government have helped to restore and reopen the building, with their original floor plan and architectural style. Seongyojang was really pretty and when you first walk in there is a pond filled with lotus leaves and a cute little pavillion overlooking it. All the building are gorgeous and you are able to stay in some of them as they are kitted out with modern comforts. I would have loved to have stayed in one. Seongyojang has also been used a location for many Korean dramas and films.
i decided to head down to Gyeongpo lake and pavillion, but when going past them on the bus they didn't look too impressive. So I thought I would go to the beach, but I was totally
shattered, starving ans sunburnt. So after beeing by the beach for about 10 minutes I decided to head down back to the bus station and move on, as there wasn't anything else I wanted to stay for. So I stopped off at Kimbap Heaven for a very late lunch / early dinner. Cheese Donkastu, haven't had one for ages and I felt like something greasy. Then I headed over to the bus stop and to my next destination.
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