Seeing as I had spent all my pennies in Australia, I didn’t have many plans for the four day Lunar New Year celebrations. Luckily, I have already made some awesome friends on Jeju and they invited me to go hiking on the East side of the island on the Saturday and Sunday. We were supposed to leave pretty early but as it is so cold and our beds are so lovely and warm, we were all running late. While I was waiting with one of the guys from the hiking crew, we stumbled across a new hotel complex and managed to wangle some free coffee. We were told if we returned later that day we could watch a really awesome ska band called South Carnival for free too! Everyone loves free stuff, so we were game and told them we would definitely return later.
On the Saturday we hiked Olle trail 2 , and the weather was beautiful. For those of you not familiar with Olle, they are a series of trails that stretch across the entire coast of Jeju. There are 21 routes in total, and this is my first one! We picnicked in the grounds of a temple, and I managed to sneak in a cheeky little nap. Here is a view from the top of one of the oreums we hiked up.
We finished the 10km trail around 4pm, just in time to make our way to the free gig. If you haven’t had a chance to see South Carnival yet and you happen to live in Korea, make sure you do! They are a Brazilian ska band, and they have heaps of energy. It’s very difficult not to want to dance around when they start playing, as my fellow hikers soon discovered. Luckily, no Koreans were injured by one particular persons flying limbs – I won’t mention a name but he knows who he is! Whilst at the gig, we got chatting to a lovely Venezuelan guy and his Korean wife, who have just opened a restaurant in the complex. Their speciality is arepas, which are delicious corn pancakes filled with all sorts of savoury delights. They invited us back for a FREE breakfast the next morning, all 10 of us! The hospitality in Korea never ceases to amaze me, everyone is so generous and kind. A few months ago, a lady my friend knows let us go and pick tangerines from her orchard and sent us home with bags of the things, all for free! And when I was in Seoul with a friend, this man came up to us and gave us free ice creams. I could literally write an entire blog about all the free things I get here, ha ha. Anyway, back to the arepas! If you do find yourself down in Seongsan, make sure to go check out the Arepa Grill, you won’t regret it. Prices start at around 6,500 won – cheap as chips!
After a long day, we retired to our air bnb for the evening, for a night of wine drinking and board games. Tomorrow would be an even longer day, with around 6-7 hours of hiking, so everyone was relatively well behaved and sadly I have no drunken debauchery to report!
We did try to start early on Sunday, but sleep is just the best and we didn’t drag ourselves out until around 10am. The rain really wasn’t helping, but the thought of our free breakfast eventually managed to get us all out of the house. And OMG was it worth it! The arepas were awesome, I had one filled with chicken, avocado and a fried egg with this amazing hot sauce too. It was literally heaven in my mouth! They even made a vegetarian one for Larkin, and she was super pleased as you can see.
The couple who run Arepa grill, Elonys and Sophia, are the nicest people ever, and if it wasn’t so far away from my flat I would literally eat there every weekend. Please go fellow Jejuites! Also, there is a super cute puppy that lives on the grounds of the hotel. He is a bit grubby but he is well fed and gets all the cuddles.
After breakfast, a few of us waited at the start of Olle trail 3 whilst the others dropped the car off at the end of the trail in Pyeosan. Whilst waiting, I noticed something moving out at sea. Having incorrectly identified a seagull as an albatross ( it was huge!) on Saturday, I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up so I kept quiet until was 100% that it was what I thought it was. But it really was, it was DOLPHINS! We all ran down to the end of the pier for a better look, and there were at least 10 of them. We weren’t quite close enough for a photo, but it really was a special moment. I have been informed that thanks to my ability to get us free food and identify cool animals, I am now invited to future hikes – thank goodness.
The second hike was a bit tougher than the first, but it was worthwhile for the views. The best bit of the whole walk was walking across a big sandy beach at the end. Here are the surviving members of the gang, tired but happy. By surviving, I don’t mean that others perished on the way. They just went home early!
All in all, it was an excellent weekend – great company, food, scenery and banter. I can’t wait for the next hiking adventure, which I am informed will be a girl’s only hike up Hallasan mountain. Not sure we will see any dolphins up there, but hopefully there will be lots of snow still!