It’s been far too long since we walked an Olle trail so, yesterday being the first day of the half-term break, we headed off to Olle 3 on the south-east side of the island. We started to realise that something was going on as we approached the start and arrived to find hundreds of other walkers celebrating the opening of Olle 3-B. Just when we thought we had almost completed the full set of trails, we had stumbled on the opening of a new one.
Olle 3-B is just a variant of Olle 3, having the same start and end point but keeping closer to the coast in the first half. Early on, we met two other walkers and spent the rest of the day sharing the trail with them – not to mention their food and hospitality. The people of the village of Sinsan provided noodles as walkers passed through and our new friends ensured we were given some, even though we should have booked in advance. We were also offered makkoli by fellow walkers along the trail (a Korean rice-based alcoholic drink – no picnic is complete without it) and rice cake. Korean people are very hospitable.
We stopped at one point and watched a group of Haenyo, Jeju women divers, emerge from the sea with their catch. This is a tradition that can’t last indefinitely; it’s a hard life and the Haenyo are getting older. It’s good to be able to see them while they’re still active.