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April 26th 2014
Published: May 13th 2014
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26th Apr: We left from Pyeongtaek Station at around half eleven. I have to say Pyeongtaek Sation is really nice, it's a lot smaller and cleaner than Suwon Station. It has lots of nice new shops, cafes, coffee shops and a department store. It also doesn't have all the dubious characters that hang around Suwon. It's a shame it takes longer to get to or I would use this station more often. The train journey took about three hours, maybe a little more, as the train was late getting in to Gwangju. Not too bad as we had traveled pretty much all the way to the bottom of the country. After alighting the train, we headed to the tourist information office to find out how to get to Boseong. We headed to the bus station by public bus, this took about twenty minutes, and then we had to walk underground to reach the bus terminal. We checked the board and saw that buses leave to Boseong every thirty minutes.

We were all starving by this point and since the buses left so regularly we headed to get some food. The bus terminal seems pretty nice and new, up on the second floor there were a tonne of restaurants. We were all in the mood for some Vietnamese food, so we headed to Pho Bay, a Vietnamese chain. I had been to a Pho Bay many years ago in Seoul and it was rank. However this restaurant was a lot better, apart from none of the staff wanting to serve the group of foreigners and one extremely sulky server. I shared the summer roll set with Hayley. It was lush as always, I love making my own fresh spring rolls.

Time was marching on by this point, so we went and bought our bus tickets. I think the bus tickets were about 8,000 won each. We got settled into our seats on the bus and then the bus driver came round and checked our tickets and gave us just over 1,000 won back each. WTF?! I've never paid for a ticket and then been given part of the fare back later, it wasn't much money, but it was a lovely surprise. The bus journey took just over a hour. We were dropped at the bus terminal, it was tiny and then we took a taxi to our pension. the taxi driver was lovely letting all five of us squeeze into one taxi and using the meter and not trying to rip us off. It was about a ten minute drive to our pension.

We were staying in a place called Gomangtae. It was beautiful, it looked like lots of little mushrooms perched on the top of a hill. It was in the middle of nowhere and was so peaceful. The owner was really nice and friendly and we got checked into our own mushroom. It was cute and spacious, it had a huge bathroom, a good sized living room and a bedroom with a double bed. We went for a walk around the property. It was really pretty, lots of flowers everywhere. The air was so clean, not a bit of smog like we are used to. It was so nice to breathe in the fresh, clean air. We had a look around, and found some horses in a stable. It was starting to get dark, so we headed to the restaurant. The owner cooked up a feast. We had a tonne of food, the galbi was amazing. the pork tasted so different, fresher. Maybe the pig grazed on green tea and that was why it was so amazing. It was cooked with a load of spinach, too. That was different, but good different. They also had homemade maekgeolli, that was delicious, so fruity.

After dinner, we headed to the bunker style tea room, that was built into the hillside. We had some green tea, with green tea biscuits and green tea jellies. The biscuits were nice, the jellies not so much. We sat round chatting and another guest explained to us, that this room was a time capsule. The owner had buried three different time capsules under the floor, one to be open in 30 or 40 years time, and the other two in 100 years time. The capsules were marked with slabs that had the date they were buried and when they were to be opened and what was inside of them. The common room shut around 10ish, so we headed back to our room.

27th Apr: The alarm went off early, but none of us moved. We slept in til a bit later. We got up around nine ish and after getting ready and leaving our stuff in the dining hall, we headed off to find the green tea fields. The pension owner had offered to take us, but he was out when we were ready to leave. We had to walk for about an hour along the road to get there. We weren't really sure where we were going and we popped into a little shop we passed along the way, to stock up on snacks and drinks as we were all starving. Bless the old woman in there, she told us that we were only 800 metres away from the entrance to the tea fields and drew us a map to show how the road veered off, and which direction we should take. So nice of her!

We found the entrance to the green tea fields, but as we were all starving we decided to eat lunch before entering. There was a restaurant by the entrance, I think it was called 'Heaven'. I had green tea bibimbap with mountain vegetables. It was really nice, i don't eat bibimbap very often, but always enjoy it when I do. The rice was flavoured with green tea and it was delicious. However it was the green tea mandu, that stole the show. They were without a doubt the best mandu I've eaten in Korea, and I've eaten a lot of mandu! The taste was just amazing.

When we came out of the restaurant, it had started to rain, great! We paid our entrance fee for the green tea field. The ticket booth was right next door to the restaurant and then entered the garden. The first thing we saw was a fountain, so we took some snaps of that. We then headed straight to the gift shop to have a quick spy and also buy some umbrellas as the rain was starting to come down a bit harder. Another umbrella to add to my collection 😉 Then we headed for a wander around the tea fields. It was beautiful to stand at the bottom and look up and see row after row of green tea. The rain also helped as it made it more atmospheric and as the tea leaves got wetter, they look darker and more lush.

We walked around the tea field following the well marked out path and all the other tourists. I must of took about a million photos there. The path to the top wasn't too bad at first, but as we got nearer the top the steps got a lot steep and because of the rain, they were a bit slippery. However we all made it to the top. It was canny windy at the top too. I was using my new camera and the wind was blowing drops of rain all over the lens, so I had to keep wiping it and making sure it didn't get wet as I didn't want to break it, on its maiden outing. Me and technology aren't friends at the best of times and I can easily imagine myself breaking it. Also at the top as well as all the tea field below, if you closely into the distance, you could make out the sea. It was wet and cloudy, so it was difficult to see, but it was definitely there. I didn't realise that we were so close to the sea.

We all decided that we didn't want to go back down the way we had come up. There was another route, that we took, it was longer, but not as steep. It was a nice walk through the countryside and there wasn't many people taking this route, always a bonus. One part was really scary though as the trees were swaying quite a lot in the wind. We hurried through that part as we didn't want one to land on us. Before we knew it we were back at the start. We needed a little pick me up after our walk so we headed to the cafe for green tea and green tea ice cream. Both were delicious. Then we hit the gift shop to stock up on lots of green tea goodies.

Once we finished at the tea field we headed down to the main entrance and the woman at the tourist information centre called us a taxi. We headed to the bus station in Boseong via the pension to pick our stuff up. We just made the bus to Gwangju wit about a minute to spare. But we wished we hadn't as it was full and we had to stand for the first hour, until some people got off and we managed to get a seat for the last half an hour. Back in Gwangju we had a bit of time to kill, so we wandered around Art Box, before heading for some food. We went to a buffet place called Seven Spring (I think). It was a little pricey at about 20k, but it was good. There was loads of lovely salads. The smoked salmon one was amazing and the cake was good too. We took taxis from the bus station to the train station. We wished we had realised that they were so close together, it only took 5 minutes in the taxi. We could of saved loads of time yesterday instead of taking the bus. The train left at seven and got us in to Pyeongtaek for around half ten, then it was the subway and my walk home form the station and I mad it in just before midnight. It was a weekend full of travel, but it was nice to be somewhere peaceful and away from the city smog.

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