Monday, June 15, 2015

A Day at SeoulLand

Here it is - the LAST Korean Adventure post (#124!) and our actual last adventure, other than the trip down to Osan and our flight home this week. It will be short and sweet.

We decided to finally hit SeoulLand. Normally we would not have even ventured near an amusement park on the weekend, but as you may have seen on the news, many over hear are hibernating indoors until the MERS situation clears up.  As a result, we were able to basically walk onto every ride in the park...a park which had a LOT of similarities to a certain park in Orlando...

We had a lot of fun on all of the rides - especially since Michael is now tall enough to do them!


He's so gangsta...ha!

Michael had fun dancing with the parade dancers and characters as we exited the park.

Then it was time for one last trip to Itaewon and a stop for desert at Sweet East - yes, that is a chocolate and banana funnel cake. Yum!

And that's a wrap.

We hope you enjoyed your tour of South Korea for the past year and a half; we've definitely enjoyed our time here and I've had fun sharing it on this blog.

Farewell, Korea!

Jeju Island - Days 4 and 5

Day 3's hiking went so well (even with our wobbly, sore legs the next day) that we decided to take advantage of the continued good weather and visit Mt. Hallasan in the center of the island.

We chose to go up what was listed as the easiest trail, Yeongil, on the southwestern side of the mountain. It started with simple trails and steps made of wood.

Then right around here...

...the trail turned into rock steps and not really steps...

We made it to the platforms around 1400 meters and were greeted with this view:

At this point, my bum knee and Michael's repeated call of"carry me" had the two of use descending back down the rocky portion (super slowly) while Rob continued on up the mountain for a bit. There were MANY centipedes, like this fellow, along the trail and I think Michael had to stop to examine almost every single one.

Rob made it up to the next level, at 1600 meters and took some pictures before deciding he'd had enough and wanted to head home, as well.

Day 5 dawned foggy but sunny, despite continued predictions for rain. Michael and I headed over to the the nearby aquarium - Hanwha Aqua Planet. Our little guy loves aquariums and sea creatures, so this was a must see for him.

He was beyond excited about this remora, though he did wish there was a shark for it to suction on to instead of the window glass.

We were there just after opening, so we were able to see a number of feedings - in the seal and penguin tanks.

There was also a penguin nest live cam - check out the baby under its mama:

Xray art:

The main tank is ginormous. They aquarium used to have two whale sharks (which Michael would have LOVED!!!) but they released the remaining one after the other died.

They did have a creepy looking statue, though.

The highlight was the dolphin show, which started with one dolphin and the trainer, and ended with four dolphins leaping, flipping, and splashing the audience.

Here's a quick clip of the trainer riding the nose of the dolphin around the tank - so cool.

We headed back to the hotel to meet up with Rob (aquariums are not his thing  :)   ) and found a jjajangmyeon restaurant near Ilchubong.  Love these noodles with black bean sauce.

We took a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood afterwards and climbed up to see the Dongwansa Temple.

After that, it was time to head back, pack-up, and relax before our flight the next morning.

We had a wonderful, relaxing time on Jeju - so glad we were able to sneak in this last trip.

Jeju - Days 1 and 2

Jeju - Day 3

Jeju Island - Day 3

Day 3 dawned super foggy, but sunny, so we decided to make this our hiking day. We jumped in the car and headed ten minutes out to Seongsan Ilchubong, also known as Sunrise Peak.  It is a tuff cone created by an underwater volcanic eruption about 5,000 years ago. It's about 180 meters high and a pretty cool looking landmark on the east side of the island.

We bought our ticket and joined the trail of people climbing that morning - young and old all mixed together.

The path startsed out simply, with a stone walkway among the greenery.

And then the stairs started (because, it is Korea, after all) got quite steep at times, but overall was quite manageable.

And the view looking back wasn't bad either:

We made it to the top and rested while viewing the crater. Peaceful and immense.

The way down...

At the bottom we paused to watch the famous Jeju women divers (Haenyeo, or Jeju Mermaids) as they dove into the water for abalone, octopus, and other poor unsuspecting sea creatures.

Those tiny specks are the divers...

I also really liked this island plant and managed to capture a good shot of it here:

We had some ice cream as a reward for our hike and then headed back to the car.

Since the hike had taken less time then we thought, we decided to head south a bit and visit the Jeju Folk Village. We had a leisurely stroll through the large complex of traditional Jeju buildings and craftsmen showcases.

Michael was amused, and then scared by, the chickens hiding amongst these wood carvings.

The village was also a botanical garden of sorts, with many beautiful flowers and 
native plants throughout.

We stumbled upon a samulnori performance, which I am partial to after my drumming class, so here is a short snippet of the show, complete with an enthusiastic audience member.  :)

We had some random fun as we exited before heading off to have a lunch of Jeju's BBQ black pork.

We ended the day with a quick trip to a small local beach...which had a LOT of seaweed that had washed up recently.

We managed to add some cool local shells to our collection:

Then it was time for dinner (pizza!), relaxing, and finally trying out some Korean spa products!

Braaaiiinnnnsss...  Ha ha!

Next up - Jeju Days 4 and 5.

In case you missed it, here's Jeju Days 1 and 2.