Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Incheon, Seoul, Gangneung

I don't recall what the local time was when we went to bed at the Hotel Boom, but, we slept soundly through the night. We awoke, as if on que, at 06:00. After cleaning up, and repacking our bags, we were on the street by 07:00. A taxi was quickly flagged, and a few blocks later, we were let off at the Jemulpo Metro Station. We purchased our tickets for about a dollar apiece, and went out to the platform to wait on the train. The Jemulpo Station is above ground, so we were able to enjoy the morning air while we waited on the train. A few minutes later the train pulled in heading towards Seoul, and we got aboard, along with a handful of other people. We had decided to not try to find little brother today, and just head on over to Gangneung City to spend a few days with her mom, and so, we were headed for the Express Bus Terminal in the Central City section of Seoul. It was about twenty miles, and a couple of subway transfers to the bus station. We had forgotten to factor in morning rush hour commuters. A relatively empty metro car in Incheon is packed standing room only by the time it gets to Seoul. We had to move our luggage to the overhead rack to accomidate all the people crowding in, and were getting quite a few curious looks. Well, it was a mad rush changing trains a couple times, but, we finally made it to the Express Bus Terminal. What a relief. We had breakfast at a Dunkin' Doghnuts at the last subway station, then entered the bus station, and bought our tickets. It cost about twenty-five dollars for our two tickets to Gangneung. We had about a twenty minute wait for the bus. Enough time to hit the bathroom, and grab some snacks for the road. The Bus Terminal was filled with shops, and restaurants of all kinds. A little world of it's own. The Express Bus to Gangneung was easily the finest bus I've ever been on. The reclining seats were much wider, and more plush than any of the airplane seats on the flights over. It was a very comfortable two hours and forty-five minutes over to Gangneung, including one fifteem minute rest stop along the way. Here is a link to one of the videos I shot along this trip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yARvbAjz84. The rest stop was at a Service Plaza, on the Yeongdong Expressway. It had every kind of Korean food you could imagine, some American food, a convenience store, and, outside vendors of souvenirs and sundries. At the bus terminal in Gangneung City, there was a taxi que with about twenty taxis lined up. We decided to take a taxi out to her mom's place, about fifteen miles out of town. The #308 Gangneung City bus goes right out to her house, but, we didn't want to wait for the bus, and endure the many stops along the way, so we splurged on the taxi. Highway 7 goes north out of town, following the coast. About five miles out of town, the turn onto her mom's little country road goes inland, up into an agricultural valley surrounded by increasingly higher mountains. About seven miles up this road we finally came to her mom's house, just like we'd remembered it, surrounded by cropland, orchards, a few other houses, and those beautiful mountains. What a place to call Home!
The official website of the Republic of Korea: http://www.korea.net/.

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