Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Geoje and Oedo Island

Last Thursday was memorial day in Korea. It's a public holiday where people remember those who fought for Korea's freedom. Many of my students went to the UN Memorial Park in KSU with their families. I love it there when it's sunny. There's not so much green left in Korea, so it's nice that they spare that one bit in the middle of the city to commemorate their dead.

We decided to make a trip to Geoje Island which is in the South of Korea. We got up bright and early, even earlier than I usually get up for school, and headed to Sasang to get a bus. Having missed one we managed to sneak in a cheeky McDonald's breakfast while we waited, one of my guilty pleasures!

The bus took about an hour and a half to get there, and the irritating loose screw which allowed the whole curtain rail to vibrate noisily right by my ear was made up for by the amazing fews as we got closer to the island.

As soon as we stepped off the bus, there was a curious bus driver, taking a cigarette break who instantly started talking to us a mile a minute in Korean. He was so happy to help us!

Nick had done his research and we decided to go to Oedo island when we arrived at Geoje. Oedo is an island about 30 minutes boat ride from Geoje. It's a private island that was owned by a couple that turned it into a botanical gardens for the public. The friendly bus driver pointed us in the right direction and off we went.

I loved that they made the boat ride to the island a trip in itself, taking us around the other small islands and driving into coves. Unfortunately Nick and i ruined a lot of Kodak moments by standing on the deck of the boat, when the snap happy Koreans had opted to sit inside, meaning they must have got lots of lovely pictures of our legs! Ooops!

The tour guide seemed to be chanting and singing as we made our way to the island, and they started a little auction of frozen water bottles and dried squid. We decided to pass on the snacks as I tried not to get too annoyed at a couple of kids who literally wouldn't stop staring!! It's a common thing to be stared at, but it's so much more awkward when you're in a small space and you can't move away!!

It was an amazingly beautiful sunny day, perfect for the island. As soon as we got there it felt like we were somewhere tropical. It was green and luscious and there were fountains all around.

It's divided into several sections including a cactus garden, a bamboo road and some other interestingly named places which made me feel as though I was in Oz. Fancy climbing the Stairway to Heaven? Or strolling around the Hope of the World garden?

The only downside to the Island is that you're only given an hour and a half before you have to catch the boat back. By the time we'd had a mini picnic and I'd messed around with my camera, we had to whizz through the last few parts and not even give the art gallery a second glance.

I felt really sad to leave, I imagined the Tyrell grandma from Game of Thrones to be sat in a corner of the garden somewhere watching us all milling around.

Once we were back on Geoje, we decided to head to the beach, grabbing ice creams enroute. Typically as soon as we got there the sun ducked behind a cloud, but it didn't stop me from having a beach nap in my bikini!

By 5 we joined the queues of cars in the rush hour traffic and headed home. Sleepy but satisfied we got back to Busan and had dinner. I felt so much better about Friday, the day with my biggest class sizes, having had so much fun the day before! Take me back!

Korean Islands

Oedo Entrance


View from Oedo

New Dress

Stairway to Heaven Apparently

Nick's favourite flower

Oedo Flower Garden

Ice Cream on the beach

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