May 18 - Jeju Island
After Hailey's complaint we had a really good sleep. Our alarm clock rang at 7:00, I got up at 7:30 and we had breakfast in the kitchen of our guest house. Hailey, who had gotten up earlier than me had already been grocery shopping and for the rest (bread) we went went to the in-house bakery.
(Our guest house was a really nice one but not good accessible. The taxi driver, who had driven us from the airport to the guest house had to call the guest house owner twice to ask for the way....:-)
|our guest house: really nice but far away|
At 9:00 a.m. we took a taxi to the car rental station and picked up our car. Hailey was a little bit worried: she has a driver's license but doesn't drive very often. When she asked me to bring my international driver's license to Korea I was already in Japan, thus it was too late to pack it.
The first thing I learnt about Jeju Island was:
It is the only place in Korea where you can find palm trees:-)
|palm trees at the roadside|
Our first stop was Mount Hallasan (= World Natural Heritage) and Hailey had planned that we would go hiking:
There are several hiking trails on that mountain: The longest one takes about 8h and goes up to a pond on the peak of the mountain (= level 1). Hailey had chosen the level 2 hiking trail, that took us about 5 hours.
Trail information:10:40 - 10:50 flat
10:50 - 12:00 uphill (2 short breaks included)
12:00 - 13:30 gradually up (1 break included), not steep, but very rocky trail.
13:30 - 14:15 instant noodle soup on the peak of our trail (1700 m above see level)
14:15 - 16:15 downhill on the other side of the mountain (down to 1280m above see level)
(=> uphill: Eorimok trail, downhill: Yeongsil Trail)
Information about the Eorimok trail that were taken from a pamphlet:
The Eorimok trail is located on the northwest side of Mt. Hallasan. After passing Eorimok valley, one hour's walk through the oak tree forest brings you to the widely open Sajebi Hill.
While you walk along the stony path over the Manse Hill, which rises 1,600m above sea level, a flatland comes into view. Another 30-minute walk will lead you to the Witseoreum Shelter facing the crater wall of the Baengnokdam Lake.
Information about the Yeongisl trail also taken from a pamphlet:
It is the shortest trail on the northwest of Mt Hallasan. Buses are available from the 1100 Road to the ticketing office that is located at 2.5km from the Yeongsil entrance. When you turn around the magnificent view of Obaeknahan and pass the colony of Korean fir trees, you will then approach Seonjakjiwat, an alpine meadow. In spring, Azaleas and Royal azaleas provide beautiful scenery.
In autumn, coloured leaves around fantastic rocks of Yeongsil Giam present a great sight.
Mount Halla is famous for its dead trees and the Royal Azaleas in June. We were a little bit too early to experience the Azaleas in full blossom but it was beautiful anyway....
|on the way to the starting point of our hiking trail: Eorimok|
|parking lot and starting point of the trail|
|information center at the parking lot|
|some information about our trail|
|flat part of the hiking trail|
|flat part of the trail|
|trail information (our trail: Eorimok to Witseoreum and back to Yeongsil)|
|after the uphill part|
|the gradually-up-part starts|
|lots of school classes were around|
This led me to the opinion that Korean people, especially the young generation, are much more talkative than Japanese people.
(Yuki told me later, that Japanese people are taught not to make any mistakes. Therefore they prefere not to speak English or to reply to a question only if they are 100% sure that their answer is correct. On the other hand Korean people just talk....)
|sometimes the rocky trail was covered by a footbridge|
|on this "monorail" goods can be transported uphill or downhill|
|Hailey at Witseoreum|
|we made it:-)|
|lunch break (instant noodles => the taste had never been better)|
|1700m above sea level|
|how to use the monorail (water transportation)|
|on the way back (Yeongsil Trail)|
|Azalea fields that were about to blossom.|
Facing the crater wall of the Baengnokdam Lake.
|the rocky way back|
|view to the oreums|
|more dead trees|
|again the view|
|a proof, that I was there:-)|
The Yeongsilbawi Rocks have been long considered the home of the Gods. These rocks are also called "Folding Screen Rocks" because they line up much like a traditional Korean folding screen.
According to a sad legend, 500 sons ate rice soup, unkown to them that it was made of their mother's body. After hearing the truth, they lamented endlessly and were so petrified with sadness that they turned into the rocks that we see today.
Today, these rocks are one of the 10 most scenic views on Jeju Island and along with the green forest in midsummer, make for a picturesque scene.
|final point of our trail (1280m above see level):Yeongsil "entrance"|
|stone-widows at the parking lot|
When we arrived at the final point of our trail Hailey found out that we had to walk for about another hour to reach the bus station (the bus that brought us back to our starting point). Because the two of us were tired we decided to take a taxi back to our car. But first we ate an ice cream:-) Then we took the taxi back to our car (about 15 minutes ride on the taxi) and reached our guest house at 17:20.
The guest house provided toilets and sinks but no shower. So every guest got a voucher that he or she could reedem at the hotel next to the guest house. This hotel had an Onsen and so Hailey and I went to the Onsen for about 1 hour. The Onsen consisted of several bathtubs (different temperatures). One was a special one: the water came directly out of the ground and on the way up it had cooled down to about 30°C. The water was supposed to be very good for your skin, so many women even put their face into the water. After a while resting motionless in the water lots of small bubbles stayed on my skin and created a comfy feeling on on it:-) I really think my skin was a little bit softer after that "treatment".
After the Onsen Hailey and I went back to our guest house, I put on a beauty mask and then we had a Korean barbecue in front of the guest house (19:30 - 20:30). One of the Korean guests of the guest house had lived several years in New Zealand and so we had a nice talk in English.
That night we slept in a big dormitory (thin walls, no doors, only curtains in the door frame). The lights were switched off automatically at 22:00 and so we went to bed early.