Trip Start May 09, 2007
21Trip End Jun 15, 2007
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Where I stayed
We went to buy bus tickets for Busan (having decided that the train station was too far away) and then when Jon and his cousin came, decided to fly to Busan instead. The flight was 40 minutes as opposed to a 5-1/2 hour bus ride - no brainer!
Our flight left at 11:40 and we were in bright sunny Busan by noon. What a difference from the last week. As we had gotten closer to Seoul the weather was warm but every day was overcast, cloudy and hazy.
Susan's friend, a minister, was waiting for us and whisked us off to the Grand Hotel near the beach in Busan. What a difference from the last few days! He took us to our rooms and then to the buffet lunch in the dining room. We sat on chairs and chose the foods we wanted for the first time in a long time! It was heavenly.
Next he took us on a tour along the coast where we saw people on the beach, wind surfing, surfing, flying kites, picnicking and having a good time. Gridlock again - what a difference from most of the places we've been in the last month.
He brought us back, promising to pick us up tomorrow for more touring and a ride to the airport for our trip to Jeju Island. Amy and Susan couldn't wait to try the sauna and I'm on the computer!
Monday morning we met Rev. Kyong about 9:30. He took us to the site of the APEC conference in 2005 which Busan has turned into a tourist destination. It was a beautiful building situated on the bay with beautiful views of the bridge and bay. We toured the facility and then went to lunch - Chinese much to our delight. We found out that the restaurant was a favorite of the faculty at the seminary where Rev. Kyong teaches.
Soon we were on our way back to the airport for our flight to Jeju Island. We arrived in Jeju about 3 pm and were greeted at the airport by our taxi driver/tour guide for the next three days. He immediately took us to the city botanical gardens where we walked around amidst many school students. Next stop was a Stone Garden. Jeju Island is an old volcano so there are signs everywhere of volcanic rock. The stone garden actually showcased volcanic rock and the various flowers and plants that grow out of it. There were people watering and pruning the creations. Next we drove on the Mysterious Road which is some kind of optical illusion - you appear to be driving downhill, stop and put the car or bus in neutral, turn the car off and it will move uphill on its own. It was fascinating to do and even more fascinating to see huge busses moving uphill through no apparent help from the driver or motor. We decided that we weren't too hungry so we stopped at the local e-Mart and bought some fruit and snacks to eat instead. Soon we were unpacking in a quaint pension - a small privately owned hotel with our own kitchen and living room.
Tuesday was bright and sunny. Our first stop was breakfast of traditional soup and sides but the difference was that we sat in chairs. I can eat anything if I'm sitting in a chair! From there we headed to the Jeju Botanical Gardens, supposedly the largest greenhouse in Asia. We spent a couple of hours here, enjoying the wide range of flowers and plants.