It was another one of those magical traveling days where everything just kind of worked out, almost as if we had planned it. Which, if you know Lindsay and I then you already know, we had not.
We slept a little late in our posh love hotel and had the front desk call a cab for us, as we were not in the part of Korea where you can go outside and hail a cab in seconds. The woman at the frontdesk, definitely someone’s grandmother, wanted to make sure we had eaten breakfast. “Nae,” I assured her, “sagwa(apple) ppang (bread).” This didn’t suit her. In minutes she brought us a plate of sliced subak (watermelon). Then when the cab showed up, she made sure we got loaded up and sent on our way. I looked back expecting her to be waving from the front stoop, but surprisingly she was not.
We bought tickets for the ferry just up the river and ferried along Chungju Lake to the next stop several miles down. A beautiful boat ride on green water and through green mountains. It was an overcast day so there seemed to be a gray mist hanging over the hills, a very nice effect.
After unloading we were pointed to the nearest bus stop. Unsure which direction we needed to take the bus, Lindsay asked a woman nearby. Just then the bus pulled up. The woman held it for us as we rushed to catch it with our bags.
Thirty minutes later after a wild bus ride through winding roads overlooking the lake we were told by all the women on the bus that we were at the town’s train station which we were looking for. Everyone on the bus seemed as worried about us getting there as if we were their children or grandchildren. Just to be safe an old Korean men escorted us to the front door.
Twenty minutes later we were on our train heading toward Donghae on the western coast. For the next three hours we weaved around and through huge green mountains and along rivers and farmland. It was Korean countryside at its best with views you rarely get from the bus windows. It made traveling a treat. To top it all off, most of our co-passengers gave us food and smiles along the way. The only hang up was the missed turn along the way. Don’t worry, we stopped and rode in reverse for about a mile. We got straightened out. The ride was so nice and beautiful we were almost sorry it was over.
Unfortunately, we found out upon our arrival that our trip out to the island of Ulleungdo isn’t going to happen. The one ferry that goes out there is full tomorrow. No problem. A couple of hours north some friends are camping in a beautiful national park. Another potential disappointment averted. It seems again we owe a toast to the travel gods.