christina and i left daegu for the northeastern most corner of south korea (sokcho) at 10am on thursday morning. what was supposed to be a 5.5 hour bus ride turned out to be an 8 hour ride. don't ask me how these things happen. all i can say is "it is korea. you never know what's happening until it's happening. and then when it's vastly different than what you expected, you either fly into a frenzied fit of rage or you roll with it." so, we rolled into sokcho around 6pm. we found a stellar castle of a hotel and then walked straight to the beach, both euphoric to be breathing in the fresh, northern coastal air. we were just going to walk for awhile along the shoreline, but decided to play tag with the waves. the waves caught us and we ended up soaked to the bone!
soft, misty sokcho seashore at night
christina anticipating her gourmet dinner at EMART-UH
our russian castle hotel! the moment we got off the bus in sokcho i saw it across the street and said, "hey, let's stay THERE!!" the price was right and the room had plenty of floor space for yoga, so it became our home away from home for a bit.
we took a 30 minute bus ride from our castle in sokcho to seorak mountain early friday morning. it was CHILLY! we bundled up but still being cold bought some white gloves with little plastic gripper things on the palm sides for 1,000 won ($1) from a woman on the sidewalk. little did we know how important those gloves would be on our climb. i honestly don't know if i could have survived without them!!
early morning light
on our way up the mountain, we walked through sinheung temple.
had to pass the scary guys to get inside. christina drank some holy water...i watched.temple wall painting...kuan yin, perhaps?
is this for real?
yeah, you betcha, that's where we're headed!
fellow traveler...me thinks he had one too many shots of soju on his way up the mountain!
can i stay here forever?
heading higher! it felt like a sudden luxury to have stairs and railings, but after just 5 minutes of slowly scaling the steep staircase and holding on for dear life due to the strongest, whipping wind we'd ever felt, what was once luxury began to feel treacherous and slightly insane!
mountain goat monkey!
the wind kept gusting out of nowhere, from any direction at any time, threatening to blow us off the mountain like a couple of tumbleweeds! many a time we hit the ground, belly down, to keep from being whisked away.
on top of the world...again!
sweeping view of the east sea
heading back down
after our extraordinary hike we rode the bus back to sokcho and with our legs feeling a bit like jello, we went to the movies to relax! we saw "eagle eye," the only english film besides "mamma mia," which we had both seen already. never in a million years would either of us have paid money to see a movie like that back home, but in korea it is not uncommon to find oneself doing odd things! i had to close my eyes during the plethora of car crashes and way too many gunshots, but overall the plot did hold our attention. after the film we walked across the street and rode a glass elevator to the top of sokcho tower. we saw a whole lot of pretty lights dancing on the water and through the telescope some sassy ballroom dancing lessons taking place. the best part was the conversation we got into with one of the women who worked there. she was eager to speak english and we had questions. being that sokcho is right near the border of north korea, a large community of north korean refugees exists there.
- thanks a million to christina for many of these photos!