A fantastic weekend traveling to a new part of Korea, and getting to put the fun back between my legs! Yes a two day bike ride around Gyeongju to witness the blooming of the incredibly beautiful Cherry Blossom trees. On April 9th and 10th, Laurel and I took a trip with Discover Korea organized and led by William Cho. He is Korean but spent 20 years in the states and knows how to work with foreigners. We hopped on a bus early Saturday morning and began the 5 hour journey to the southeastern corner of Korea. Immediately we were renting bicycles, given a brief description of the area, and let loose on the streets to immerse ourselves in the beauty of the Cherry Blossoms.
On a trip of this sort, there are many individuals who come solo looking for some foreigner interaction. Laurel and I are fortunate enough to never really travel solo anywhere, so this is not a problem for us. But we do like new people, and at the request of William for small group leaders, I was eager to step up and take the role. I rode around and announced that I would be a group leader, and a bunch of solo riders and some couples decided to join up. We made a fun group and called ourselves Millenium Smile.
We spent the rest of the day casually riding bicycles around a big lake, taking it nice and slow, soaking up everything that was foreign and new to us in this great location. The weather was ideal. It was the first time I could wear shorts and a T-shirt after a brutal winter, and I was stoked. There were many fun things we saw that day, like the ducks on the pond, pagodas, and California Beach!!!
We decided to head home back to the hotel where the large group was staying. Unexpectedly, we climbed a brutal hill that went on much longer then anyone expected. I loved it but some of the group weren’t the happiest. Like all day, we stayed as a group and waited for everyone before finding our humble abode for the evening.
Dinner that night consisted of Sambap. This is a meal that has about 30 side dishes. Dishes of all sorts. Unfortunately by this point I was too tired and hungry to remember my camera. But I promise to have this meal again and I’ll write an exclusive Sambap post. Suffice it to say that we ate to our hearts content and were quite pleased.
Day 2. We woke up early and did some exploring. First we took a bus to a temple and near the back of the temple carved right into the granite mountain was the Seokkuram Buddha Grotto. This thing had a magical essence to it and is extremely beautiful.
We tinkered around. Bought some cute umbrellas, then headed back onto our bicycles to take a leisurely ride through the yet to be planted rice patties. Our group, Team Millennium had grown in astounding numbers to about 20 people. Picture this. 20 foreigners riding bicycles out in the country through rice patties while the locals are beginning to plant there crops. Super cool.
Once back in the city, we took a small walking detour to visit tombs of ancient kings from the Silla Dynasty. Gyeongju was the capital of Korea for a very long time, and this is where they laid to rest the bodies of ancient rulers.
Then we were back in the city to enjoy our final glimpses of the Cherry Blossoms before returning our bicycles and getting back on the bus to make the long journey home.
This trip was incredible. We met new fun people. Ate delicous food. Enjoyed superb weather. And got to ride bicycles. What more could you want on a trip as a weekend warrior? I don’t know. Make sure Gyeongju is on your list of travel destinations if you find yourself in Korea in April.
Enjoy more photos of Cherry Blossoms and have a wonderful day.