Wednesday, 2 September 2015

The Return to Korea: Part 3

Please click here to read Part 1 of this post if you haven't already.

We spent most of our summer vacation on Jeju Island, the popular tropical getaway south of the main peninsula. Honestly, we were kind of skeptical that this place would live up to its reputation as "the Hawaii of Korea," but it actually blew us away with its natural beauty and mellow atmosphere. One of the first places we visited was Jeongbang Waterfall.
Here we are at Oedolgae, one of Jeju's many cool-looking volcanic rock formations.
One of our co-teachers, Alice, was also visiting Jeju, so we met up with her and her boyfriend for dinner and night-time walking along the docks of Seogwipo City.
The next day we went to the beautiful Seopjikoji Pensinula...
...climbed Sunrise Peak...
...walked through a kilometre of volcanic underground tunnels.
...and wandered around a stone dolmen park.
The next day we continued our rampant sightseeing at Yakcheonsa Temple. We've been to enough Korean temples to know that they get pretty samey after a while, but this one blew us away with its massive scale and its gorgeous decorative design.

Here's the Museum of African Art. We didn't go inside, but we did catch this lovely view of the exterior.
More strange volcanic formations at Jusangjeolli.
Like temples, waterfalls are another sight that can get repetitive after a while, but Jeju has some really stunning examples that make them worth visiting.

At the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum.
On our last full day on the island, we went to Hyeopjae Beach, known as one of Korea's most beautiful beaches.
A perfect last day of vacation.
One of the last things we did in Jeju was visit Loveland, a sex-themed park with lots of statues of genitals and naked people. The next day we caught our plane back to Seoul, which was fittingly gloomy and bleak-looking to suit our moods.
Back to reality: strolling around Gangnam as we look for a place to eat.
I'm proud to announce that it's now been a year since Angela and I got married on a beach in Bali. I've never been so astonished by the speed at which time passes! What a great first year it's been though. We celebrated our first anniversary by eating at one of our favourite restaurants, Zelen's in Itaewon.

That weekend, we also took a bus to the mountains near Hongcheon, a couple of hours to the east of Seoul. Here we stayed in a lovely pension with our own private swimming pool.
A delicious Korean barbecue we prepared in our own private space.
We had our own private pool as well as a jacuzzi. Needless to say, we spent a good portion of our Saturday idling around drinking red wine in there.
We're planning on following the traditional western guidelines for our anniversary gifts, with paper gifts for our first year, cotton for our second, and so on. Angela made for me a framed picture showing maps of where we first met (Seoul), where we got engaged (Malaysia), and where we got married (Bali). For Angela, I prepared a bottle filled with scrolls, each one containing a memory from our first year of marriage.

That pretty much concludes our first 6 months. So far, this year's had its share of ups and downs, but looking through this blogpost reminds me that we're so lucky to be together and to have enjoyed so many exciting experiences. We're going to try to savour this last half-year as much as we can, since it may well be the last we see of Korea - and Asia - for quite some time.

I may make one more post summarising the second half of our year here, but that won't be until early 2016. If all goes to plan, by then we'll have started a new chapter our lives, living together on the east coast of the USA.


  1. Your adventures are fantastic!! Wishing you and Angela many more years of happiness and love!

  2. Hi james, do you have any instagram account?

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