Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 1 on Jeju

Woke up pretty early to get to the main branch of OES for 6am. We all tumbled into an assortment of cars and minibuses and headed off to the airport. We didn't depart from Inchon as I was expecting, instead we fly out of the much smaller Cheongju International Airport. Despite claiming to be international all the flights seemed to be heading to Jeju.
The flight itself was a sort one, less than an hour in the air. My first impression of Jeju was that, from the air, it seemed to be much flatter than mainland Korea, despite having the tallest mountain in South Korea, Hallasan.
We went from Jeju airport to a breakfast place by a bus Mr. Oh was renting for our time on the island. Breakfast was good, not entirely sure what the dish was but I've had similar dishes before. From breakfast we went to Hallasan Park where Joanna, Peter, Dora, Jay-Hun and I got off. Us four were the only ones willing to climb a mountain that day.
It was a very nice climb. Quiet and shaded for most of the ascent before opening up to pre-Alpine grassland for the rest of the way. We lunched on rameon at the summit which wasn't really the summit, but was as high as we could climb as the rest of the way to the top was shut for conservation purposes.
We descended via another route. The weather closed in a little by now and at times we were walking through mist, which added a great deal of depth to the drop on the left side of the trail. Towards the bottom the mist lifted enough to let us see how deep the drop-off really was.
We soon re-entered the tree line and the trail became a fair bit steeper. I was stopping to take pictures so Joanna and Jay-Hun pulled ahead while Peter and Dora dropped behind. This meant that pretty soon I found myself alone on the trail. It was a very pleasant experience. Soon I reached the bottom and had icecream to distract me from my thoughts.
We had to grab a taxi from Hallasan Park to our hotel. We knew that it was going to be quite a long taxi ride, and with four of us stuffed into the back it wasn't going to be a particularly comfortable one. In the end it wasn't too bad. Our taxi driver took us to 'Ghost Road' where things appear to roll uphill. He obligingly turned off the engine and sure enough up we went.
Our place of residence is one of two villas on the northeast corner of the island. Its a very spacious affair, but very few beds.

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