This past weekend Aneesa needed some time to work on her assignments, so I decided to spend my weekend “home” on my island. I woke up early on Saturday morning in a panic thinking that I needed to get ready for school… then it dawned on me… it’s Saturday, and I’m on the island… This felt like a completely foreign experience since I have spent almost every weekend with Aneesa. I decided to spend the day being as lazy as I could. Playing pc games, watching series on my laptop, and eating… a lot… all day… to the point where my fridge was empty! Eventually I got sick of being a vegetable, so I decided to take a walk to the beach to catch the sunset. Sunset on Kkotji beach is a really beautiful experience, but I will let these pictures convey what I saw.
On Sunday I had plans to meet my friend Liz in Taean to go hiking. Since I rarely get to do such things on a weekend, I was really excited. We had planned to hike up Baek Hwa Mountain, which looks over the town of Taean and boasts many hiking trails of varying difficulty. It is frequented by many of the locals and is a must for anyone visiting Taean, provided you enjoy hiking of course. Before I continue, let me say that Korean people take hiking VERY seriously… they usually travel in groups, all dressed in brightly colored waterproof attire. This “uniform” consists of caps, jackets, gloves, hiking stick, and fancy shoes… all in matching colors. Liz refers to them as power rangers… a very fitting name I’d say.
We began our hike at 10am. It was already hot and humid, but thanks to my new found fitness, the Hike was very easy. The haze in the air meant that we couldn’t see as far out as we has hoped, but we still were able to witness some beautiful views of the town and a hint of the coast far in the distance.
Along the trail we took, there are many rest and picnic spots. These are all usually close to wells that have been created along the way. Strangely enough, there were outdoor gyms along the route as well. I am not sure who would want to hike up a mountain just to have a workout, but I presume some people would use the equipment simply because it is there.
One of the attractions on the mountain is Hongju Temple, which is a little temple complex on the way to the summit. This tiny temple is very well maintained and when we arrived, there appeared to be some sort of service going on. The monks were chanting and we saw some people enter and proceed with their devotions. There is also a Buddha with two disciples carved into a huge granite rock which a temple structure was built around. This differed from the actual temple in that we were allowed to enter with our shoes, and we even got a lecture on the history of the carving. Unfortunately the lecture was given to us in Korean, so we both just politely listened and acted as if we knew what was being said.
After our stop at the temple, we continued on to the summit. Here we got unobstructed views of Taean-eup and got to stand on the mountains highest point… 284 meters above sea level. Not the most impressive number, but it was fun to observe how excited the Korean people got when they touched the marker at the summit.
The trip back down was actually a little trickier than the hike up. We had to look out for loose rocks and make sure not to end up rolling down the mountain. This journey back however, was much quicker. We had completed our trek at 12:30 and caught a quick bite before I had to make my way back to the island where I spent the rest of my weekend relaxing and enjoying this much needed change of pace.
P.S. All pictures were taken with the Canon Powershot and Samsung Galaxy S2.