Sept 5. 2017
I packed my tiny bicycle and flew to Korea.
This was a rather spontaneous trip and a much needed one for me to clear some matters off my head. Besides, I enjoy being out and about, getting lost and figuring my ways around. It’s something I always wished I could do in college but was never financially capable. Given my present good health, a bit of saving and plenty of down-time from work, I thought it was high-time I complete these to-dos.
Not really a sketching trip:
Since I wanted to pack as little as possible, I only managed to bring a tiny sketchbook and broke a few decent brushes to fit them into a small hard-case. To shrink everything down, I brought 2 tiny plastic cups and used them as water containers. With two set of cycling attires, some washing detergent, I am off to Korea’s 4 rivers cycle path way. My goal is to reach Busan from Incheon via her dedicated 600+km cycling path. I had about 7 days to do so and did not plan much. Fortunately, I found someone’s itinerary on google map and it was super nifty. Thanks John Graham
I woke up around 8/9 am and took the airport train to Cheongna In’t City Station. Inflated my tires and proceeded to the starting point at Ara West Sea Lock. I also bought a mini passport to collect all the stamps along the way.
Today, I rode more than 60km to Seoul and stayed overnight in a motel near Gil-Dong. It rained a little but thankfully not too heavy and I managed to arrive safely. Daily routine of washing clothes began...
Rode about 100 Km today towards Yeoju and passed by the city of Hanam to arrive at Sun Valley Hotel in Yeoju. It’s a water theme-park hotel and costed a little more but I thought there would be a nice view for me to do some sketching. Passed by numerous tunnels built specially for cycling today; It was spectacular.
Woke up super early today at 6 to start my ride at 7. It was a little foggy and I met Gaith from Canada and Mangi from Korea during today’s ride. We rode about 100km to Suan Bo. At first, I was feeling ambitious and wanted to try for 150 km. Mangi laughed and didn't think I can make the distance. I forgotten that I will be facing some serious elevation pass Suan Bo until Gaith busted out his maps and discussed about the journey ahead. We reached Suanbo and I checked into a hot spring hotel. Suan Bo was a quiet town with a bunch of restaurants and hot spring motels.
Woke up at 6 and started my ride a bit before 7. It was super foggy and the climb started right after away. There were a few teaser climbs before the eventual climb…500 metres over a stretch of 5km. The down ride was superrrrrr fun.
It took me a while and I struggled a little with my tiny bike. Since I don’t know where I am going and how far it will take, I throttle ahead.Eventually I reached the peak.
100 km later, I reached Nakdong-Ro at about 5pm and check into a small love motel. Those funky lights they had in these love motels were awful. Accidentally, I flipped them on a few times and thought I entered a haunted house. It was funny.
Mega foggy day. Though I intended to ride down to Hyeongpung-Myeon, I realized from the weather forecast that I may be cycling into a thunderstorm. The forecast indicated 95% rain. Decided to jettison today’s destination and cycled into Daegu. Checked into a nice hotel and will take the KTX (bullet train) to Busan tomorrow. That way, I can spend an entire day in Busan. One free day in Seoul too.
It poured in Daegue and the forecast was right. It rained all through Busan. Managed to jump onto the subway, then KTX and kept myself mostly dried.
When the rain stopped in Busan, I hopped onto the subway and cycled to Haedong Yonggunsa, a 14th century seaside Buddhist temple. It was magnificent and I speed sketch a little of the coast. Fukuoka (Japan), from what I remembered is just about a boat ride from Busan.
Spend the night feasting sashimi at Jagalchi Market. Kind of crazy to be chewing down moving octopus.
Took the KTX back to Seoul. Cycle a little through the city to stayed near Hongdae. Lots of hills in Seoul but it was quite fun to cycle through the back alleys and narrow streets. Eventually, I reached my hotel room and explored the nearby universities and fashion streets.
Time to ride back to Incheon from Seoul. Today I got more time to sketch along the way and did a few tiny sketches before eventually resting in a hotel at Incheon. My cycling trip is finally over.