September 21st 2008 - Muryong

September 21st 2008

Mauna Ocean Resort and Muryong Mountain

This week started with a holiday. WOOHOOO !!!! Monday was the last day of Chusok - the Korean Thanksgiving. We hadn't been very active during Chusok this year, so we decided to break free and go on a mystery tour. It was also the day, 7 years ago, that Paula and I met, so what better occasion to celebrate ?!

Paula and Peo giving it full throttle !

I had plans to bring Paula to Mauna Ocean Resort for a nice lunch while taking in the surroundings. Unfortunately I had a few problems finding the resort !! But traveling is half of the adventure, and we actually saw some very nice nature while I was trying to find the resort. You might think that it can't be very difficult to find a big ocean resort ... ! I would normally agree ... it's just a matter of following the coast until you reach it. But when the Ocean Resort is smack-in-the-middle of the mountains - miles from the sea, you can have problems finding it. I know from experience...

Anyway - after a lovely trip around the surrounding area, we finally made it to the resort. As any Ocean Resort, Mauna of course has a luge course !! (it's actually more like a gravity go-cart course) And a big golf course. But no Ocean.

Mauna Ocean Resort golf course

And the "luge" course

The train they use to transport the "lugers" back up the mountain!

I thought that a big resort would have a bit of info in English, but I was wrong. We would have gone for Korean food, but when we saw that we had to sit on the floor we decided against it. We are such old farts !! So we drove down the mountain again and into town, where we ran into some dead ends food-wise, before we ended up in Bennigans. It was very busy all over, but we got away with a 10-minute wait to get a table.

Saturday morning I went on a morning mtb ride with our Korean friend Mr. Kim, while Paula took a yoga class (I had forgotten all about our Saturday yoga classes when I had arranged the mtb ride !). I was happy to see that it was overcast and for the first time in a long time I wouldn't have to fear coming off my bike due to sun stroke. It's so much more enjoyable that way ! We had a very nice ride and came past Seongbul temple deep in the mountains. Even now when summer is supposed to be over, the temple was still surrounded by mountain flowers.

Mr. Kim battling the mountain !

The flowers are still blooming - 5 months into the season !

And the monks are still working the fields.

The bell tower at Seongbul temple.

Seongbul temple

It was so nice that I brought Paula back there next day ... but in the car !! And as we were once again on a mystery mountain tour, we continued on to Mount Muryong. Paula loves the mountains ... especially the mountains which you can reach by car !! Mount Muryong is named one of Ulsan's 12 scenic spots. Unfortunately it is not because of the very beautiful nature on the mountain but instead because of the view you have of the petrochemical area at night! Lights and flares flickering in absurd pollution !!! In other countries they would be ashamed of such a sight, but here the petrochemical industry has a high status, as it is hailed as one of the four corner stones of Korea's economic boom. The others are heavy industry, electronics and cars, I think.

Ulsan seen from Mt. Muryong. (clicking on the picture will allow you to zoom in )

Towards the Ocean from Mt. Mryong

From here the brave locals throw themselves out in paragliders and the less brave play with their remote control model planes.

And the rest come here for picnic. Koreans can picnic everywhere .. we sometimes see people picnic beneath the expressway bridges!

Us - trying to cover the petrochemical area.

Paula in the jungle.

The rice will soon be harvested, so the scarecrows are on their last leg, so to speak.

For those of you who haven't seen rice au natural.

Friday evening we met up with our yoga teacher, Minjoo for a meal at the Korean Seafood restaurant near Ilsan beach. We had a very nice evening, but Paula has been suffering from a bad stomach ever since. So I guess this was the end of our visits to this otherwise very good restaurants. Last time we went she also fell ill ! The problem with turning vegetarian is that your choice of food/restaurants gets very limited (keep in mind that we don't normally choose a Korean restaurant when we go out by ourselves).

Minjoo and Paula at one of the cafés at Ilsan beach.

Below you can find all the photos from this week (the above and some more):