Friday, September 9, 2016

After a nice bowl of bibimbap, we said farewell to Jeonju.  Apparently, bibimbap started in Jeonju so it's a little different (and more expensive) there. It has more of a variety of vegetables which give it a complex taste. At least that is what Chris said.  I love bibimbap but this one had seaweed mixed in it so I stuck to the bulgogi.  I really do wish I could like seaweed. I've tried. And tried.  We just weren't meant to be.  It just keeps me from eating Kimbap mainly, which is sold in every other store here.

We hopped a train to Yeosu, which was a 2 hour train trip.  We took the cheap train and found it to be plenty comfortable and clean.  It only cost 55,000 won for all seven of us, which is about $50.  Not bad for a two hour trip.  The train had a little snack car that, of course, had mini karaoke rooms for you to rent out. Why wouldn't you have karaoke rooms on a train, right??

In Yeosu, we hopped a bus to go straight to the Buddhist hermitage that Chris wanted to see.  Instead we got distracted by a replica of the turtle boats, a statue of our dear admiral Yi (Hannah is his biggest fan since she watched an episode of a Korean drama about him) and a cool pagoda of sorts that overlooks the city and the bay.  THEN we headed to the hermitage via an hour long bus ride through small villages that either were rice farmers, fishermen or kimchi experts.  I just can't get over the beauty of their countryside. I feel like Korea's cities are really big and their villages are really small.  They seem to squish everyone into the city to keep the villages small. I love it! If I moved to Korea, I'd take up residence in a village.  We knew we were in for it when we had to walk up these steep city streets (Lombard road minus the switchbacks) just to get to the hermitage gate. We then climbed up, up, up these beautiful and steep granite stairs (more than 300 of them) to the tippy tippy top. It made for a spectacular view and was completely worth the whining we had to listen to.  (Which, in all honesty, wasn't that bad. It was playful whining.) While explaining that this was a sacred place for Buddhist folks to visit, the girls all decided that they were grateful that they don't have to climb so many stairs to get to the temple.  Figurative stairs, ladies.  Figurative. With super sweaty backs (we all had our backpacks with all of our stuff for the trip), we reluctantly headed back into town on the bus.

There were minbaks and pensions (rooms for rent) a plenty in these tiny towns and of we hadn't already made our reservations in town, I think we would have stayed the night! We then had a very kind bus driver that saved us from ourselves as we got off at the wrong place and he waited for us while helping us figure out our junk.  I kind of wanted to hug him but settled for a few "kamsamnida"-s.   Yeosu is a nice town as it isn't overwhelmingly huge but has the markets and what not of a big city. They have less cross walks so you just have to be gutsy and trust that the oncoming traffic values human life as much as you do.  There are plenty of Korean women out selling their fruits and veggies on the street. The buses got us where we needed to go and seemed to come often.  And all of that was complete with a nice view of the ocean.  Ooh...their ocean seems so calm.  Almost like a bay with no waves crashing up on the rocks.  You rarely have a place where you look out and don't see oyster farms everywhere.  It looked a lot like Oregon's coast but different.

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