Once again, I’m going to add some non-Jeju posts and photos to my Jeju blog, this time from mainland Korea. We’ll start with this photo of a long sandy beach facing turquoise seas, and the hills of North Korea in the background.
This is as far from Jeju as you can get in South Korea, in Gangwon Province in the north-eastern corner, overlooking the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates North and South. The border between the two countries is heavily defended, and military vehicles drive up and down the roads regularly in this part of the world. The beaches, which elsewhere would be a draw for holiday makers, are backed by fences topped with barbed wire. Young soldiers – national servicemen, perhaps – patrol the coast carrying guns.
I took these photos on the Yongmeori coast on Saturday, down on my hands and knees to get a close-up. It wasn’t until I looked closely that I realise that the things that look like large brown woodlice seem to have formed a seal around them; I have no idea how they do it or how permanent it is. It is interesting to look closely at all these little creatures fixed to the rocks, jostling for space in the best positions.
I ran my first half-marathon in over 18 months on Sunday. The race was due to take place in April but was postponed out of respect for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster. In addition to the playing of the Korean national anthem before the race, music was also played while everyone stood and remembered the victims.
I made quite a profit on my entry fee. For a start, the price label on the souvenir t-shirt was more than the entry fee; I then took second place in the over-50 category, for which I won a trophy and 15 vouchers for 10,000 Won each – that’s getting on for £100. I’ll have to find out where I can spend them.
I usually avoid posting photos of myself on this blog but the one below, of me with my fellow prize-winners, made me smile.
We weren’t the only people walking round the Yongmeori peninsular today. It’s set below Sanbangsan and just a few miles from Global Education City and the walk is closed if the tide is high or the waves too big. There was no danger of getting swept away today; indeed, there were many opportunities to sit down with a plate of sea food, as fresh as it comes, taken from a bowl of water and sliced as you wait, and eat it with a bottle of Soju (the local alcoholic drink). Even washed down with something strong, I wouldn’t be tempted by any of the unpleasant-looking options that were being cut up.
It’s easy to get blasé about the geology on Jeju, but Yongmeori is quite something. It’s originally a hydro-volcanic structure, subsequently subject to a process of erosion and deposition, the result being a low-level ledge around the peninsular backed by sculpted cliffs.
Another Sunday, another market. This time it was Daejeong five-day market in Museulpo, in search of something to plant in the garden.
We bought some battered sweet potato from the lady in the photo below and ate them at a low table next to the stall.
Elderly ladies, like the two in the photos below, are a feature of all such markets. It would be so interesting to know their stories.
There weren’t many customers in Hallim Market this afternoon. Some stallholders were working with their stock – unloading vegetables, preparing fish – while some were watching televisions in the little rooms behind their stalls. Some were sleeping, like the women with her cat in the photo below or the man under the quilt in the photo at the bottom. I don’t blame them; I’m sure they spend long days at the market and need to take a nap when they get a chance.
You can see the end point of Olle 13, Jeoji, not long after you leave the start. The trail starts on Jeju’s western shore at Yongsu Pogu (port) and passes through the village before emerging into the fields – with a view of Jeoji oreum in the distance. That’s it in the photo above, rising from the flat landscape beyond the darker line of trees and with the paler shape of Mt Halla beyond.
The route passes through agricultural land – more onions and radishes, barley and citrus – and the profile of the oreum appears at different times, getting closer each time. Once you start to climb the oreum, it becomes apparent that the western slopes are covered with graves, much like Museulbong on Olle 11. The final few kilometres include the circumnavigation of the rim of the crater, before dropping down into Jeoji village, from whence a taxi back to Yongsu Pogu to collect the car.