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Pomtie Tales Follow the adventures of a Pommie and a Soutie, travelling the world.

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Festival

SOUTH KOREA | Thursday, 17 July 2014 | Views [584]

The first trip that either Robin or I went on in Korea happened on my second weekend on the peninsula. Rob had been here 3 weeks or so, and we were still hardly even speaking to each other. Shannon (my sister) organised this trip for all of us. It was fun, and beautiful, even though we had some severe bicycle fails (and the first one was my fault). 


The trip involved cycling around the cherry blossoms. We got dropped off at the bike hire spot, and we were super excited... I didn't really know how it worked, should we wait turns, or rush and stampede each other?... Normally I would have just hung back and waited a while so the masses would be gone, but Shannon pointed and said "Grab that one!", which i did... except I must have been looking at the wrong one, because as I rode off I realised that I had chosen the crappiest, oldest bike on the Korean peninsula. Luckily for me though, one of the other girls, Emily, had chosen a bike way too tall for her short legs. We swapped, and off we went, riding through cherry blossoms, passing temples and tombs along the way.


At one point, we rode up this long winding mountain road, to this tomb on the top of a mountain. It was tiring getting up there. We got up, and found some benches, drank some water, and took in the views. In Korea, the tombs are not graves, but grassy hills ~ the bigger they are, the more important the person was. The one we went to was for a Queen who had helped rescue Koreans when the Japanese invaded. It was a BIG mound. At one point we turned around, and one of the guys who was with us, Max, was climbing up this mound, ripping out tufts of grass in his attempt to reach the top. We started shouting at him to get off, that that wasn't okay, and that he couldn't just climb on a tomb. He said it was grass and it would grow back, and refused to come down. The Koreans who were on the hill paying respects, and looking at the tomb were flabbergasted. staring at this white man, defiling their dead. No wonder so many Koreans hate foreigners! Haha!


Our way DOWN from the mountain was also eventful... It was a steep ride up, and even steeper down. I didn't trust myself on the bicycle with the steepness and loose sand, so I walked it. The next thing I new, Robin WHIZZED past me on his bicycle, except where the road wound around, he just went straight. He went flying through some old man's cabbage farm, and landed on his cross-bar **cue all men reading this to say "ooooh" and grab your package**. After lying on the ground for a while, Robin got up with a very bruised ego (not as bad as his balls though! Haha!) and checked his bike. Amazingly, everything looked fine. Then he got onto it... The seat was broken, and if he put too much pressure on it, it would fall to the side and he would get poked in the bum by the seat pole! Haha!


Shortly after Rob's tumble, Emily's (my original) bike's  tyre popped. At this point we had cycled quite far away from the bike shop. Not to worry though - Shannon's boyfriend, Jeremy, had his cellphone, and the trip leader's number. The only problem was that the trip leader could hardly speak English. Everything got lost in translation, and we ended up taking turns pushing the bikes around. By this point we were totally lost, in a city none of us knew, with a broken bike slowing us down. To be honest though, I was quite grateful for the walking ~ we had been riding for a while and I had serious "Rider's Bottom"... Seriously, I know why they invented padded shorts!!! We gave up, and found a pizza place, where we stuffed our faces. Afterwards we pushed the bike (occasionally grinding our shins on the pedals) all the way back to the bike shop... Just in time to catch the bus back to our accommodation. It was an adventure!


That night we got some food, and had some drinks on the grass outside our accommodation, before passing out from the strenuous day!

The next day we headed up to a temple in the mountains. It was pretty, and peaceful and lovely, but the one thing that sticks with me is the "fresh" water spring.

<<Before I tell the story let me clear this up: For those of you who don't know, I HATE brass and copper touching my skin. I hate the smell of it, and the feel of it. One of my "friends" once poured a bunch of coins into my shirt (one with a built-in bra) and I couldn't get them out, and I started crying while I was screaming and running around the room trying to get them out without touching them with my hands.>>

Okay, so on the side of the mountain was a brown rock, which kind of looked like a monkey, gushing water. All the Koreans were grabbing these scoops and drinking this "super healthy", pure, fresh water. Shannon (who knows about the disclaimer above) had a drink, and tld me it was delicious and refreshing and I just HAD TO try it! I had a sip, and as it touched my lips, I instantly regretted it. I felt like I had been sucking on pennies. That brown monkey rock must have been made of pure copper, mixed with the stuff nightmares are made of. I choked back my tears while Shannon laughed, and told me she had lied, because it was actually disgusting... 


All-in-all, this weekend was a bit of a failure if you think about the memories I have of it: Broken bikes and horrible tastes. But it was actually really a lot of fun. I think back to it and laugh. It was funny, and definitely an adventure I will remember!


Have a look at the pictures in the cherry blossom album :)

Tags: biking, cherry blossom, gyeongju, temples


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