Since moving to Seoul, I haven't has as many opportunities (or as much motivation) to take weekend trips to other cities. But, with the 3-day weekend thanks to Buddha's birthday, I got that chance last weekend.
On Thursday afternoon (after classes were finished) I had lunch with my Doumis (helper students that the school paired me with) and then took the bus to 청주 (Cheongju). I met up with Viruck and Candice, and we hit up the town for some barbeque, playstation arcade, karaoke, and beer. Slept the night in 청주, and then in the morning met up with my friend 민애 (Minae) and together with some of her friends (7 of us in total: me, 1 Italian guy, 1 Korean guy, and 4 Korean girls) took a road trip. Our first stop was 전주 (Jeonju). This city is very famous for its "Korean Traditional House Village." Its about 1 sq. mile and all of the buildings look like the traditional korean style. We had 비빔밥 (Bibimbap, rice mixed with various vegetables and a chili pepper sauce) which is the famous food there. It was good, but the only real difference from 비빔밥 made elsewhere is that they added a walnut and a few pieces of jejube. Because of the traditional appearance of this town, sometimes its used to film movies that have a lot of flashbacks or take place in the past. One of my favorite movies, 클래식 (The Classic) was filmed here.
After that, we got back in the car and continued driving south for about 2 and a half hours. We got to the home we rented for two nights (see picture above). It was in an area with alot of hills and forest, and was really beautiful, especially when the mist rose up over the forest. It had a barbeque outside, and inside there was a kitchen, bathroom, and two rooms. Friday night we grilled outside and enjoyed the nice weather.
Saturday it was raining non-stop all day. We went to the nearby mountain, 지리산 (Jiri mountain), which is one of the most famous in Korea. There is a temple not far up, which was cool. And then we hiked 2.5 km along the path which took us quite far up the mountain and to a beautiful waterfall. The constant rain was a bit bothersome, and made for a few slips on the way down. By the time we got down, it was time for a very late lunch and then we went to a tea museum. When the first person brought tea to Korea and gave it to the king, the king ordered that the tea be planted on this mountain. So this mountain is the origin of Korean tea culture, since about 700 CE. By the time we got to town, most of the shops were closed... but we managed to buy some sushi, chicken, and various other things to make a delicious meal. We went back to the house to eat and enjoy a few drinks.
Sunday morning we had a big breakfast of ramen and fried rice. I'm not a big fan of ramen to begin with, and it's not exactly how I like to start my day ㅋㅋ But it was good to get some food in our stomachs before we left. The trip back home took 8 and a half hours (from the time we left that lodge until I got back to my apartment). So, it was a bit difficult because I hate to sit still, but spending time with friends is always fun. Spending two days with the same people non-stop is a good way to make friends. And actually I found out that 병일 (Byeong-il, see picture above, and no... I have no idea what he's doing) graduated from the high school that I taught at last year. Its a big coincidence since that town is so small that nobody in Seoul even knows where it is, and there are about 7 or 8 high schools in that town. So it was fun to talk with him about the school, because we knew some of the same teachers and famous places nearby.
민영 and 민정 (Minyeong and Minjeong) who were in the same car as me for a good portion of the weekend.
보라 (Bora) and Luka. They've been a couple for 6 years, but can't speak each other's languages. They always speak in English and are a really good couple.