Thursday, September 8, 2016

Today we hopped an intercity bus and headed west for Jeonju, a city known for their hanok village. A hanok is an old Korean house that normally has a courtyard and several rooms that connect to the court house.  They have the amazing tile roofs and come with ondol floors. (Think radiant floors awesome and innovative great grandpa.).

Although the bus station looks a little sketchy, Korean intercity buses are pretty cushy.  There are only about 20 seats because they are abundant in leg room and arm rests. They stop half way through the ride at a rest stop that has a restaurant, a food stand, a convenience store and exercise equipment.  We loaded up with some hotteok (yeasty pancakes with a cinnamon filling), used the row of normal toilets vs. their squatty potties and were on our way again. The drive was amazing as we went through lush mountain country and rice paddies a plenty.  Something new I learned?  Koreans are more of a "through the mountain" vs. over the mountain sort of folk.  We went through so many tunnels! I wish I had counted them.  It is kind of cool because it tends to be more of a straigh shot AND the roads don't seem to muck up the view as much.

In Jeonju we hopped a taxi to the hanok village and immediately set out to find a place to sleep. (ever since a childhood trip through Idaho that left us on a roach motel, I really hate this approach.)  We decided not to do anything else until we had a room but then we ran into the octopus food stand.  Two octopus on a stick later, we (Chris) regained our focus.  One block later, we found Autumn's long lost hanok and decided it was fate and that we must stay there. (Autumn's Korean name is 아름다운/Autumndaun and means "beautiful". It means her name is all over the place). Our hanok is named "아름다운집" or "beautiful house".  We took it as a sign and rented a pretty small room for the seven of us.  We are all sleeping on the floor with traditional sort of bed duvets, which is what we've been doing at Halmoni's. A little rough on the back but a kind of cool Korean experience.

We then spent the evening wondering the streets of the hanok village. We ate different types of mandu, hotteok, kalbi on a stick, snow ice, steam buns and a local variety of cheese that they grill.  Everything was delicious, minus the octopus that I left to our seafood lovers. We toured a local shrine that was built to honor King Taejong that was full of beautiful buildings and cool history tidbits. We got to watch the Korean couples that rent hanboks (Korean traditional dresses) and wear them around town.  We also got to listen to Elise and Lilly ask to rent hanboks a gazillion times. After us all listening to them ask and ask,  I was  saying how good something savory sounded and Chloe said "I was thinking the same thing! About a hanbok?"  She's a funny girl.  This is a pretty touristy town but I have to say that I just love walking up the cobble stone streets and seeing all of the intricate gates and tile roofs.  It is a tourist trap that I can handle, I stick to that even as I am lying on the hard floor. (Which isn't so bad either.)

1 comment:

Jim said...

I believe the motel in question wasn't in Idaho, but was in Southeastern Colorado. I wouldn't want to see the reputation of cheap motels in Idaho unfairly maligned.