Jeju Island, South Korea - Day Three
A beautiful cloudy day greeted me on the third day of our Jeju trip, the skies were brighter, the wind was still cold, and the rain barely made an appearance. I would describe our third day to be the absolute perfect kind of day to see and experience the beauty of Jeju Island. And yes, today was to be my absolute favorite during our entire stay.
A warning: photo-heavy post ahead!
Hello! A morning selfie before leaving for breakfast. My hotel breakfast every single day consisted of this. Actually, majority of the places I go on vacation, if there's a continental breakfast, you best believe this is exactly what my plate would look like every time. If there's anything I love about traveling, it's people watching and capturing locals going about their daily life. This was the sight that greeted me when I walked out of our hotel that morning before I boarded our tour bus. Cherry Blossoms that made everyone ooh and ahh. I may or may not have gotten a little too giddy over these balding Cherry Blossom trees.Obligatory touristy photo under Cherry Blossom trees! Canola flowers by the side of the road. You wouldn't believe how many meters long this road is that was just full of Canola flowers!
And then we were taken to an entire Canola flower field! It was buzzing with so many bees! You'd think being around that much bees would be scary, but they were too busy pollinating to even mind anyone. The brightness of the yellow was honestly slightly blinding. Nonetheless, it makes for a great photo :)Our lunch was so darn good I craved for more after we had finished eating. It's grilled Mackerel, and when paired with all the Korean side dishes it's absolutely tasty! This was by far my favorite meal during our entire trip. Not a piece of fish meat left on its bones. Right outside our restaurant was this cute dog across the street, naturally I had to have a photo with it but he was a little jumpy, so I needed to give him his personal space. Here I am with the rest of our tour group, right before we climbed Seongsan Ilchulbong, also known as Sunrise Peak, which can be seen right behind us. We had no idea what was in store for us, thinking it wouldn't be that high... But we were wrong. I mean, look at our naive smiles of excitement! Climbing steps is no joke. I had to take off my thick parka and my scarf because my body temp started rising from all the climbing and I was burning up. The fact that I'm immensely out of shape is to blame. Still, I soldiered on. More than halfway up, I almost quit, but thankfully I had some guys from the tour group push me to keep going. I was already more than halfway there, did I really want to quit? Heck no. This is what greeted all of us up top. Korean kids were exclaiming "kam-sam-nida!" ("Thank you!" in Korean) upon reaching the last step on the way up and I remember thinking, "You and me both, buddies... But this is pretty much it." It's only the most underwhelming, anti-climatic thing I've ever experienced. I couldn't appreciate the beauty, because I mean... It's a shallow crater (can you even call this a crater?), but seeing as they call it Sunrise Peak, I'm guessing it's much better up here during sunrise (or sunset!) I didn't stay here long before heading back down again. The view of the city was so much more beautiful than the view that greeted me at the top. So I didn't really mind! Loooong way down, I'm just glad you don't have to exert as much effort as climbing. Still, my feet and legs started to ache. Oh, but that beautiful city view <3On the other side of Sunrise Peak is this beautiful scenic view of the beach below. I mulled over going down thinking I'd have to climb so many damn steps again, but as a true traveler, I knew I had to keep going. It's part of the traveling experience to keep pushing yourself, to see things up close and personal. And so I went! Cold, wet and slippery, I marveled at this beautiful view despite the weather being more gloomy on this side of Jeju Island. This beach is where some Jeju Women Divers dive for a living. Men don't do it, the women do. Jeju Women are known to be hard workers and don't believe in the practice of women staying home and being house wives. I absolutely love that. Our next stop was the Seogwipo Folk Village, where you could see preserved houses and learn about how the Jeju locals used to live. There are people still living in the Folk Village houses, usually families whose ancestors lived in the very homes they do now. The government pays each family to maintain and preserve the original exterior of each house, but they are free to do as they wish to the interior parts. A cute grandma tourist-watching from inside her shop. I separated from our tour group to explore the village on my own. I stumbled across someone's house and loved how they grew their own vegetables (and damn they were huge!). I fought every urge to trespass and take a peek inside their homes. I had a small Goldilocks moment, not gonna lie. Someone's rose bush that grew so high up. I'm in love with how Koreans grow such beautiful flowers! Another local woman admiring her worm-like looking veggies as they dry in the sun... I accidentally stepped on some of them, but it's okay she didn't get mad at me. The language barrier was so terrible that I didn't even understand why she was gesturing frantically at me until my roommate told me I was standing above her vegetables. They looked like dead wormy weeds. I apologized, but she just smiled and then proceeded to explain to me, in Jeju dialect, what it was (I'm assuming). I stared at the worm-like looking things longer and realized they were for eating, so I gestured an eating motion with my hand and asked, "To eat? Vegetables?" and she just nodded, smiling. I found out later on that they're Fiddlehead vegetables that a lot of locals would pick from the side of the road when its in season. I found a cute telephone booth to be cute in. I didn't make actual calls, though.The last stop for the tour that day was the Aqua Planet. It was a nice place, but not entirely all too exciting. I treated it as my rest period from all the walking and touring we did that day, since walking around without needed to hurry was a nice change of pace. I generally love sea creatures, so walking around and seeing different kinds of animals was quite relaxing to me. An aquarium show was held here about the women divers of Jeju, although it was entirely in Korean, so we didn't get to appreciate this much. Jeju's main tourists are still Koreans from mainland Korea, which is why they don't really take into account English translations for tours like this one. Even so, I still found the demonstration of women Korean divers and how they work extremely interesting. I wish we had met real ones in the flesh when we were at Sunrise Peak.
The last stop for the day before heading to dinner was checking out Jeju's biggest outdoor market, Seogwipo Olle Market, where I was able to buy some local goods to bring home. It was Tangerine season so a lot of the products they sold had tangerine in them!
As usual, we'd have dinner out before heading back to the hotel but at this point my camera battery died and I no longer had any photos of my meal, not that I wanted to remember it anyway. We had a (small) whole chicken stuffed with rice, ginger, other veggies, in chicken broth soup and you had to break apart the chicken for all the contents to come out -- it was pretty much just Arozcaldo, and I've never been a big fan of Arozcaldo. I'm ashamed to say I hardly touched my dinner.
We were able to get back to our hotel pretty early, so I savored every moment in my room just resting, talking to my roommate, Irish, and working on a contribution piece I was doing for Preview's June issue. My roommate stepped out for a while to explore Jeju city on her own, and I took the chance to get in the tub and have a hot bath. My limbs were tired from all the walking. After my relaxing bath, I did a little bit more work before hopping on my bed and buried myself under the covers, I was dead asleep by 11 PM. Irish said it was the fastest she'd seen anyone fall asleep, and she didn't even realize it until she spoke to me and all she got in return was a quiet snore on my end.
I hope you guys enjoyed my recap of day three just as much as I loved going through the photos and talking about it on this post. Jeju is such a beautiful city that I'm pretty sure I left a piece of my heart over there.