My day started well when I was invited to join two Korean couples for breakfast in their tent. We ate bap (rice), kim (seaweed), tongbaechu kimchi (whole cabbage kimchi) and soegogi (beef). Google Translate allowed us to communicate in halting conversation.
Leaving Yangyang on the cycle path towards Busan I was soon crossing a high bridge being used by fishermen. A rod bowed sharply and a shout went up. A man jumped onto the rail to grab the line and, between the two men, another fish was soon joining others flapping on the path. The cycle path follows the coast, with beautiful sea views.
I walk out onto the sky walk in Hajodae and watch Koreans trying to avoid getting wet as waves crashed over a path on a rock wall below. The sound of squeals pierced the air. I spend some time exploring the sky walk and paths to a nearby lighthouse. The rocky coastline with bonsaied fir trees was stunning.
At the 38th Parallel is a popular beach where Koreans are learning to surf. The beaches along the coast are marked by constant reminders of the peninsula’s conflict with barbed wire, spot lights and military posts. As an Australian I am unused to this landscape of war and it feels odd to see people taking selfies and surf lessons amidst this millitary presence. But I guess we humans have this fantastic ability to adapt to what is normal to us.
I pass through many fishing villages. They all feel so familiar despite my never having been in Korea before. There’s a constant about fishing village: boats, nets, tough brave men who make a living from the sea and the smell of seafood. Small boats sit waiting to be taken to sea and I feel a sense of awe at the bravery of the men who will take them onto the ocean. It must take much skill to prevent them being swamped, especially if they are full of catch. Women sit on the docks selling and gutting fish. The elaborate water filtering systems are interesting as live fish swim in buckets and shellfish are filtered in the smallest ones. Its’ quite a sight and similar to the way seafood is sold outside the restaurants but there the fish are in tanks. I haven’t yet bought fresh fish from the dock but I will when I go down there tomorrow.