I haven’t written about it yet, but I didn’t really enjoy Dublin, Ireland very much. So one beautiful day I decided that instead of commuting north into the downtown again, I’d instead head south and see what the ocean side had to offer. After all, people don’t travel to Ireland to see Trinity College once and then head home. They come for the green. So 13 miles down the coast from Dublin, I traveled, looking for some green.
My oh my, what I found exceeded my expectations. Not so much the green, but the way the green contrasted with everything around it. It seemed almost neon. And the small mountain the lay south of Bray bordered right up against the ocean, and included what I later learned was the most expensive-to-maintain stretch of railroad tracks in Ireland and is still used to this day. The views are probably incredible on that train, judging from my own incredible views a few feet above.
Near that railroad track, winding its own way around the mountain, is a six kilometer stretch of trail that reaches the next nearest town, Greystones. The stretch of trail overlooks the ocean for its entirety and I felt jealous of the joggers and runners I saw along the way; they would be able to complete and see the entire stretch today, while I could only walk part before it was time to go home.
In the end, it was a wonderful day in Bray.
Have you ever visited Bray or rode down this stretch of the railway? What did you think? Would you ever run this trail?
I’ve often walked down the one lane roads that wind between rice paddies for miles and gawked at the excess of natural beauty, but it was only this week that I let my camera in on my little secret. Get ready for plants, lots of green, rice sprouts, a guest appearance by a snake and so, so, SO many spiders. (Maybe don’t look at these pictures before bed if you’re prone to spightmares.) Otherwise, enjoy the mid-morning walk in my sneakers, except for the leftover spiderwebs sticking to your face.
It’s true: not many Westerners think of vacationing in Korea at all. And it’s even more true that those who do come to Korea spend the majority of their time in Seoul. As for short excursions out of the city, famous temples and mountain hiking tend to be the way they go. Rural Korea? Why would anyone go there?
This Saturday/Sunday, my friends and I went camping on the beach. Koreans love camping, so it was especially lucky that we not only found a nice stretch of beach to accommodate all of us (over 20 people!) but also had the beach almost entirely to ourselves. We all set up our tents, located all of our bags and cracked open a beer (or wine, or soju + juice) to enjoy in the sunshine. The communal environment was relaxing; we all shared pork, beef, ramen noodles, vegetables and drinks of all kinds and our laughter echoed over the empty beach for hours. Freezing as the water was, the brave few swam and the majority of us waded only as far as our calves. We played frisbee, “cricket”, soccer and hiked to the part-time island (low tide/high tide) to climb over rock piles and see the other side of the beach. After sunset, we built a huge bonfire on the beach and sat in a circle, warming our tired legs and soaking up the heat.
Thanks for the memories, Hagampo.
About Hagampo (학암포):
Hagampo is a beach located about 20km Northwest of Taeon (태안), in Chungnam Province. A local bus runs to Hagampo a few times each day or, alternatively, a taxi will cost about 26,000₩.
Every so often, the education office in my area organizes a little outing for the English teachers. This outing was a particularly nice one; we stopped at the Chunguisa Buddhist Shrine, visited this traditional village and then headed over to Sudeoksa Temple.
Korea is full of reconstructed traditional villages and many of them are quite beautiful, with blooming trees, streams and flowers. This particular one is located between Dangjin and Yesan, across the street from the Chunguisa Buddhist Shrine.
The warm weather is really making me happy again. This past weekend, Saturday’s weather was perfect and beautiful. Sunday was markedly chillier, but still bright and sunny. It was the perfect weekend to make a short trip: Gongju + Daejeon. If you’re in travel range and have a free weekend, visiting cities like this can be really refreshing and I definitely recommend it. Here’s what I saw: