It was to Yongsu for lunch today – panini and blueberry smoothie in the cafe ‘By Lynn’. It’s a 16 km bike ride from GEC, mostly downhill, through Jeoji and Josu villages and along quiet Jeju roads and past typical Jeju landscapes.
I was reminded of Thomas Hood’s poem, November, which captures the (alleged) greyness of the month in the UK. Jeju is quite the opposite; although yesterday was thoroughly wet, the November skies have been clear and blue so far and today was bright and breezy. The poem starts:
No sun-no moon!
No morn-no noon!
No dawn-no dusk–no proper time of day-
No sky-no earthly view-
No distance looking blue-
You get the picture.
The cafe faces westwards, overlooking Chagwido and Wado Islands and southwards to Suwolbong. It’s great to be living in such a landscape.
I don’t suppose there were many other people walking Olle 14 today; they’d have got wet if they had been, sooner or later. Even so, it was still good to be out on the trail.
Olle 14 starts in Jeoji, very close to Global Education City, and makes its way north-west until it reaches the coast. It then turns northwards past Hyeopjae Beach and ends at Hallim. This is the part of Jeju where the prickly pear grows, both wild and farmed. I wrote a blog about it before, but now they’re covered in yellow flowers – and, today, in raindrops.
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.
Here are two views from Gama Oreum. The top one looks through the trees northwards towards Jeoji Oreum; the one below looks at some more distant oreums a little more to the east.
Apart from being a vantage point from which to admire the scenery, Gama Oreum is the site of the Jeju Peace Museum, on account of the three-level network of military tunnels within it. A total of 2 km of tunnels, with 33 separate entrances, were dug between 1932 and 1945. Jeju was strategically important, and Gama Oreum was in turn important because of the view over Altteuru airfield.
There’s a film for visitors to watch as you enter the museum. It has a message of world peace; indeed, Jeju has been designated as an Island of World Peace. However, I’m not sure that the message is unambiguous within the film, or fully supported in the rest of the museum. It’s a difficult thing to achieve – telling things how they were without either pointing the finger at the aggressors in the war or simply allowing visitors to draw conclusions that are unhelpful.
And it’s not just the events of the Second World War that are covered. There’s a shell on display that was fired by the North Koreans at the south in 2010, and some booklets for sale with illustrations that show the South Koreans and their allies with benevolent faces and soldiers from North Korea with wild eyes and fierce faces. Sigh.
This is Jeoji Oreum, a short distance from Global Education City. The photos really don’t do justice to the remarkable form of the feature. As with many of the oreum, it rises steeply out of the relatively flat surrounding farmland. The photo on the left looks southwards across from one ridge of the volcano to the opposite side, over the canopy of the trees that fill the crater, to the coast beyond.
The photo below is looking westwards. The coast line is just a few miles away and I assume that both the feature on the skyline and the island beyond are volcanic, albeit not as well-formed and regular as Jeoji Oreum.
The photo on the right adds a touch of colour. The tangerines, a Jeju speciality, are ripening and there was a stack of crates in the field ready to harvest them.