Tongyeong and Bijindo

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September 5th 2015
Published: September 22nd 2015
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5th Sept: We had taken the bus down from Seoul overnight and the traffic had been good. We arrived at Tongyeong in the early hours of the morning and slept for a bit longer, until it started to get light. I came out of the bus, to see that we were parked up near the water. The area was a bit ghetto, as there were a few people (I presume to be tramps) sleeping outside. I was dreading to go to the bathroom, but was pleasantly surprised at how clean they were, there was even toilet paper and soap, which can be a rarity in Korea. The sun was rising and the sky was a beautiful pink color. I took a little wander along the front to see the turtle ships. Turtle ships got their name as they have a protective shell like covering. They are Korean war ships, which were used by the Korean navy during the Joseon dynasty. Admiral Yi Sin-shin is the one who came up with the design. The ships were very important as they defeated the much larger Japanese navy fleet. The entrance to the boats was locked up, so we couldn't go for a walk around on them.

We headed off in the opposite direction for about 5 minutes and we came to Dongpirang Mural Village. The mural village was painted in 2007, and it revitalised the village. The village was set up on a hill. It was quite small, and the streets were pretty narrow. There were loads of murals, so were quite old, and a few had practically all worn away due to the elements. However, there were also a lot of new ones, too. The village is obviously well looked after. Since it was really early in the morning, we tried to be quiet ads the village's residents were still sleeping. There were a couple of cafes, but it was too early in the day for them to be open. Although it would be lovely to sit outside and enjoy the views. We headed up to a pagoda at the top of the hill in the village. We caught the tail end of the sunrise. We could see all around Tongyeong and the sky was gorgeous. We then headed down out of the village, taking a different route and passing more beautiful murals. I made a quick pit stop at the corner shop to buy some provisions for on the island.

The drive to the ferry terminal was really quick, we were just along the road from it. We unloaded the bus and brought all the stuff in to the terminal building. We had a bit of time to kill before we were called to board, so we just sat around. The ferry terminal was pretty quiet. After getting our tickets and being called to board, we headed outside. It was a short walk to the ferry. We left some of our stuff outside and then headed to the upper cabin. I took my shoes off and then laid down on the floor. Once the boat started sailing, I pretty much fell straight asleep and dozed until I was awoken by the loud speaker announcing our imminent arrival at Bijindo.

We arrived on the island around 10 o'clock. It was a short walk to our pension. It was in the perfect location, right on the beach, next to the police station. We sorted out the rooms. The rooms were small, but lovely and clean. The pension must be fairly new or the owners had refurbished them recently. We were up on the third floor and had a lovely view from the window. We could see the beach and out to see. I could see the ferries coming and going, dropping people off to explore the island. After having a bit of chill time in the room, and soaking in the gorgeous views, I headed down to the beach. Since the island is so small, there aren't really any shops, only tiny convenience stores, with a very small selection of drinks and dried goods. We had brought loads of food with us. We spent an hour or two preparing and eating lunch. We had a big feast of bulgogi, pork, stir-fried veggies, potatoes, and bread buns. I was happily stuffed after lunch.

Some of the others went off to do some activities, fishing and kayaking. However, the only activity I wanted to do was lie on the beach. I spent a couple of hours there. I read my book for a bit, until I felt too tired and then I passed out and had a lovely afternoon nap. When I woke up I decided to brave the sea. I didn't get very far in, only up to my middle. The water was too cold. I decided to go for a little walk along to the end of the beach. I took my camera with me and got some snaps. I felt a bit revived after my nap, so I decided I would do the part of the hike on the island. One of the girls in my room decided to join me. I took the same route we had last year. It didn't take us to long to reach the first viewpoint. It was a bit cloudy, so the view wasn't the greatest. We could see lots of little islands and beaches in the distance. I would love to go and stay on one of those deserted beaches for a week or two. It would be the prefect place to unwind.

We continued up to the second and better viewpoint. We spent ages there, taking photos of the sandbar connecting the two islands and watching ships go past. We were there so long, that we met up with some of the others in our group, who had taken the longer trail around the mountain. They did not enjoy it, so I'm glad we took the shorter route. The weather wasn't great and it was starting to spit a bit, luckily it was pretty light, so we didn't get too wet. We headed back down the same path we had took up the mountain. It was a little slippery, due to the rain, so we had to be careful. The sun had well and truly started to set as we emerged from the trail. The lights in the village were coming on. There were also quite a few sea cockroaches scuttling along the path.

When we got back from our little hike, dinner was already being prepared. We spent the evening sitting outside, under the cover of our outdoor kitchen dining area. The food was good, we had lots of samgyeopsal, some veggies, potatoes and sweet potatoes. The owner of our pension had been fishing and he had caught a big fish , that he had given to our group, so we could barbecue it. The fish was delicious. Warren had sent for some beers from the mainland, as it was cheaper than going to the local store, and they had arrived on an earlier ferry. I just chilled drinking beer and chatting. There was a makeshift noraebang set up in the restaurant/building next door. There were no staff about though, so people could just sing what they wanted. The rip-off place we had been to last year was closed, probably because it was out of high season and so quiet. I was still shocked at how quiet is was, the beach was empty and all the little stores were long shut by 8 o'clock. There were lots of sea cockroaches about, some were even encroaching on our space. Some of the group were pretty freaked out by them, they are pretty ugly. I was shattered so I headed up to the room around 9 pm. Some of the others were already asleep. I had a quick shower and it felt good to be clean again. I was passed out by 10 o'clock.

6th Sept: It was a lovely leisurely morning. I woke up around 8, I had been waking on and off since it started to get light. The view form our room was amazing, I wish I could wake up to a view like that everyday, however I doubt they need any English teachers on Bijindo. I pottered about a bit and then went downstairs around 9, which was when breakfast was served. The weather was beautiful and I sat on the step of our outdoor kitchen and enjoyed my breakfast looking out over the sea. Breakfast was good, toast toasted on the grill, eggs, sausages, potatoes, and there was even some cheese left. Once I had finished I headed back upstairs to shower, change and pack up my stuff. Some of the others were going hiking, but I had planned a lazy morning. I went to the tiny shop opposite our pension, bought a couple of cans of coffee and sat on the beach stair reading my kindle. Pure bliss!

We left the pension about 11:45 a.m. as our ferry was at midday and it is only a ten minute walk to the port. I was surprised at the number of people there were queuing to board the boat. Where were they all last night or yesterday during the day, as the beach had been empty. The ferry was a bit late leaving as there was only one old bloke checking everyone's tickets and ID hardly efficient, when they know how many tickets they have sold. The journey took about 45 minutes to an hour. I loved it as we sailed away, watching the island get smaller and smaller in the distance. We were followed by a big flock of seagulls. I spent ages taking photos of them as they swooped past our boat. Some people had crisps and other snacks that they were throwing in the air to attract the sea gulls.

We arrived back at Tongyeong port and our bus was there waiting for us. We drove for about an hour and a half and then stopped at a rest stop for a late lunch. I never really order food at rest stops as we don't have much time, but today we had forty minutes, which was enough time to get a meal. Luckily, this rest stop was pretty quiet. I ordered kimchi ramyeon, which were fine, it's pretty hard to mes up instant noodles and kimchi. I even had time to grab an iced coffee. The rest of the journey passed fairly quickly as the traffic wasn't too bad and I was in the house before eight o'clock.

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