2010.09.26 - Chuseok

A Korean Thanksgiving in the comfort of our home!

This week was one which we had been looking forward to for a long time. We had been hoping to spend this important Korean holiday with Paula's brothers, but unfortunately they had to delay their arrival in Korea until next year. And with no (cheap) tickets out of here and nobody to look after Peo, we prepared for a week of exploring Busan.

One of our Chuseok presents

Another of our Chuseok gifts. Now we have a lot of Raspberry wine!

Monday was not part of the holidays, so we spent it working and later at the gym - a normal day for us lately. Tuesday we got up early and prepared for a few hours in the mountain with my colleague Serhiy. Ice-water check, apples check, muffins check, chocolate check .... ready, set, go! We headed for Hwangnyeongsan, the closest mountain to our apartment (only a couple of kilometres away). It was a hot and humid day so before long we were all soaked in sweat! We followed one of the routes I had found while biking and eventually made it to the top, where we sat down for coffee with a local 75-year old hiker. We declined the invitation to join him for rice wine though! Serhiy surprised us with a large Korean vocabulary - he's full of surprises that one!

Setting out on our walk from the local temple.

First stop.....

Ehhhhh - OK!

At the top (well - almost ... as close to it as we got)

The view is fantastic from this place

There is a small cave close by with natural air condition. Pretty handy on a warm day...

Serhiy on the trail

Stopped for lunch

Discussing important world policies ?!?!??

Low-tech treadmill.

Trying to fix what Serhiy broke! In the end a blow with a big rock did the trick!

We finished the trek in a bit more than 3 hours - including a short picnic and a bit of chin-ups on the bar! The mountains are full of small exercise areas - as if you weren't tired enough from climbing all the way up there....

In the afternoon we first went by the Homeplus supermarket to buy a volleyball and then on to Songjeong Beach. It would have been a good day for windsurfing but we settled for bodysurfing and a bit of volleyball in the wind. The water is still nice and warm even though the wind has picked up. Actually - it has become unusually cold since that Tuesday on the beach. I am glad we got the most out of that last day of summer - we spent one hour playing in the waves like little children !

Looking for a decent wave .... there were some good ones in between.

In the evening we went out looking for somewhere to eat but most restaurants had closed for Chuseok, so we ended up in Hyundai Dept. Store again (third time in 4 days !). No gym that day, but I think we used up our exercise quota anyway.

With Wednesday came the change in weather which I have already told you about. We woke up to rain and wind so our options for the date with Ulrik and Karine were limited. Paula and I were a little lost for ideas but Ulrik and Karine were not and suggested that we'd meet up at the Busan Museum of Modern Art. As I mentioned last week, the Bienale is now on here in Busan, so there are many work of arts on exhibition all over town. The Museum of Modern Art is of course one of the major venues and a place which we had not yet visited. So we jumped on the metro (which ran almost empty) and headed for Haeundae.

One of the more surreal works of art!

I liked this room.

This was Paula's favourite

Another of my favourites

Look closely at this .... you wont see this again any time soon!

These aluminium figures were incredibly well done

It had taken the artist 4 years to complete all the figures

Ulrik and me getting a look into Infinity

Paula grew her hair !

The Museum was a very positive surprise. It is housed in a spectacular building (mostly when seen from the inside) and although some of the pieces were incomprehensible for mere mortals like us, there were some really good pieces as well. The twins were remarkably quiet (Jonathan had a little fever) but Juliette was in a cracking mood - she opened her mouth the second she saw us and didn't close it again before we left Ulrik and Karine's apartment 4 hours later! She is funny - really talkative. We had a good walk around the museum before going for a late lunch at one of the Italian restaurants at the Maritime City. Then we had a look at Ulrik and Karine's apartment (last chance before they move to another apartment around the corner) before returning home for our usual 7pm appointment with Serhiy at the gym.

Thursday was the last day of the three-day holiday and we had a plan to spend it together with Øyvind and Anveig and their two children. At 10 we turned up at the cable car for Geumjeong mountain after having for the first time experienced Busan's streets without zillions of cars. Anveig and Eiril were already in the duck-boats !

On the duck-boat merry-go-around

We got the troops together and stashed ourselves in the cable car. This is not one of Paula's favourites but she did great. The views were spectacular and it helped not to look at the cable car construction - it looked pretty old! After 5 minutes we reached the end point but not the top. Our goal was to reach the south gate of the Geumjeong fortress, so we had another half hour walk to do. From there we continued down to the pond and then up to the lookout point (where the trees hid the view completely) and back to the cable car. Eiril was pretty tired in the end and didn't really want to walk but she was determined to make it first to the top (and any other self-announced goal), so as long as we raced her, she would continue. The down-side to that plan was that we would have to run as well!

Paula put up a brave face to start with

Great view from the cable car

And this was not even full - going back it carried about double the amount of people!

Nicely painted but what's behind the paint ?!?!

Paula couldn't keep up the brave face for the whole trip!

And the views just got better and better

On the way to the South Gate

Øyvind and his youngest daughter.

Paula and Øyvind

The girls fording the raging river!

I love the antennas dressed up as trees!

The happy family Træthaug

At the pond

Friday was a normal day (i.e. work and gym) and then it was weekend! We need more of these kind of weeks! I was pretty wasted after a hard evening at the gym the day before, so I soon forgot my original plan to go mountain biking. Instead we walked to the flower market to do the weekly purchase. Then to the gym and in the evening we met up with Serhiy, our almost-family. We got a cab to Seomyeong where Paula and I have had our eye on a traditional Korean Tuna restaurant (well, for us it is Japanese but why bicker).

Me at the flower market

So many choices ....

Half of our purchase

Mmmmmm .... sashimi!

Mmmmm ... Cold Stone

Seomyeong street action

The restaurant lived up to all our expectations .. and more. Raw tuna ad libitum .... you can't really go wrong, can you?

From there on it was Cold Stone and a café to sit and look at all the action - Seomyong is one of the student hangouts in Busan.

Today Sunday I finally made it to the mountains on my bke. I went exploring so it wasn't too strenuous. But a little frustrating not to find any really good trails. I returned a couple of hours later with Paula and Serhiy. They were tired already before we reached the mountain, as we had to scale (crawl over) some pretty steep hills to get there. Once in the forest we were OK and ended up walking for a couple of hours. I find it a privilege to have the mountains here right in the centre of such a big city. And all over the mountains you can find walking trails as Koreans are avid hikers.

We survived the trip to the forest edge ... now the real hike begins!

Looking for my lost bike computer!

Mountain gardens

Mountain angel ???

Our first vessel is now afloat and greeting us every time we leave the parking lot