Follow Us Around: Gangneung Day 1
October has been an incredibly busy month! I’ve planned it that way on purpose, because winter is quickly approaching and it gets so cold in Korea we rarely want to leave our apartment. Before we go into hibernation, I want to fit in as many trips and activities as possible. Also, Fall in Korea is GORGEOUS and fleeting. I want to soak up as much good weather and nature as possible before the cold, dark, long winter.
Anyways, this weekend we made our way up to Gangwon-do province to visit our friend Zack, whom you may know as Scroozle from the blog Crimson North. If not, definitely check it out! He’s been living in Gangneung for the past couple years, and I’ve only heard good things about it. Our friend Charly also lived in the city and loved it there too! It was past time for us to visit. We hadn’t been to the province since our first year, and even though it was the very beginning of Fall, it was gorgeous and we couldn’t have asked for better weather.
Because of Friday evening obligations, we didn’t leave Yangsan until early Saturday morning. We arrived in Gangneung at 2 and hopped in a Kia Ray rented by Zack and set off together. We ate some kimbap quickly and Zack showed us where his old apartment is, the university, and where a lot of the night life happens. That area had a similar feel to our neighborhood actually, with grid like streets and short buildings on stilts.
Our next stop was GyeongpoDae 경포대, a look out point on a hill over Gyeongpo Lake. There is a big pavilion at the top where families and couples were relaxing and enjoying the view. There is also a war memorial, and plenty of grass prime for picnicking. Fresh, green grass isn’t as plentiful in Korea as it is back home, so we eagerly sat down for a bit and enjoyed it. (WITHOUT A MAT! OH NO!^^)
Pavilion at Gyeongpodae
Around the lake is a nice tree-lined path, with many people walking and riding rented tandem bikes or buggys. From pictures I’ve seen from Zack, I’d love to come back here during cherry blossom season! The area was so nice and well-kept. Zack also pointed out some construction and one completed building that will be used for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018!
After our short rest at Gyeongpodae we went down the road to Gyeongpo Beach. I was surprised with how big, clean and beautiful it looked! It felt like a beach back home, and I honestly prefer it to any beach I’ve been to in Busan. While the Gwanganli bridge is gorgeous, it still feels a bit claustrophobic. I felt the same freedom and peace that comes with wide open spaces and ocean air. From what Zack told us, the beaches are close to empty compared with Busan beaches, and in my opinion a lot nicer! Definitely an underrated beach destination, where I intend on going next summer!
Next we went to a famous and important historical site, the birthplace and former home of Yulgok Yi Yi and his mother Shinsaimdong. Ojukheon as it’s called, is named for a rare black bamboo that was growing on the grounds. Really unique thing to see!
As we mention in the video, modern Korea’s neoconfucianism came from Yi Yi’s writings, and his mother Shinsaimdong is considered to be the mother of Korea and the model Korean woman. Both of them are featured on Korean won, so naturally there are photo ops that we had to take advantage of.
The new mother of Korea!
Evan as a grumpy Yulgok Yi Yi
The complex, complete with beautiful gardens, a 600 year old tree, and a museum was also the landscape for a famous scene in a drama. None of us were sure which, but the place was marked on the ground of where you are to stand to get the exact shot from the show! haha people take their dramas so seriously here. We took our time walking around, admiring the first signs of Fall.
After the sun set we made our way to a pumpkin duck restaurant just on the edge of town. We were all starving and thought we’d have to wait an hour since we didn’t call ahead, but they brought out our pumpkin full of duck in about 20 minutes!! It was delicious as always.
The wonderful feast
Watch the video to see more, and stay tuned for Day 2 of our weekend in Gangneung!