Igidae Park hike (Busan)

 photo IMG_2903_zps3e49e45d.jpg
 photo IMG_2905_zps87cd8319.jpg
I set off from my hostel around 11:30am with the intention of buying ice cream and coming back home. My university assignment isn’t writing itself but I get distracted while wandering around and find myself following the roads towards a nearby headland. Along the way I pass some 3D artworks and ‘photo spot’ signs.
 photo IMG_20141022_123252_zpshgskl6ef.jpg
As I continue my meanderings I pass a huge apartment complex. This is the way people seem to live here in Busan: in apartment complexes. The complexes have shops and cafes on the ground floors of many buildings. The buildings are so tall that there must be thousands of people living in each one. These complexes are dotted all along the coastal and mountain areas of Busan. I have been told that they are all rentals. Residents pay a large deposit upwards of $50,000 to secure an apartment but then don’t pay any rent because the landlord takes rent from the interest earned on the deposit.
 photo IMG_20141022_125546_zpscygby4hk.jpg
Shortly after the last apartments back into a mountain, I pass a small fishing harbour and round a corner to see the Igidae Coastal Path stretch out in front of me. Wooden bridges jut out of the cliffs and suspension bridges cross inlets.
 photo IMG_20141022_125355_zpsknxj0z31.jpg
The winds are strong so the sea is roaring. I stand on a gently swaying suspension bridge and watch as waves crash over the rocks below. Water washes into the narrow rocky inlet. As it rushes out it makes the sound of grating like sandpaper running over timber. It’s an eerie sound and, at first, takes me by surprise.
 photo IMG_20141022_130558_zpskv7kvusf.jpg
Where the path is low along the waterline the waves come close to drenching me. There are many signs warning hikers that this is a dangerous area for natural disasters. Loud speakers are mounted all over the headland and I imagine their purpose is to warn hikers if there is danger approaching. Not that any of the hikers seem concerned; this is normal on the Korean coastal areas I have traveled where tsunami evacuation routes are well-signed.
 photo IMG_20141022_130746_zpsyi0kqapu.jpg
The trail periodically leaves the coastal bridges to track through the mud under the pine trees. I guess it’s not always muddy but this week we’ve had a few wet weather days. There are many Koreans hiking today in their full Korean hiking uniforms. Most are older; the young people are probably at work. I see no other westerners on the trail; actually, I have rarely come across westerners outside of youth hostels in Korea. It is a surprise given the number of people I know who have spent a year or more teaching English in Korea. I had anticipated more ex pats or foreign tourists here. But outside Seoul’s Itaewon and the hostels I’ve stayed in I’ve seen almost no blue-eyed wanderers.
 photo IMG_20141022_133329_zps4fg3fts3.jpg
I keep following the coastal path around cliffs and past crashing waves. The hustle and bustle of Busan could be a hundred miles away rather than just one mile. The sound of the ocean fills my ears and becomes my entire world for the duration of this 5km hike.
 photo IMG_20141022_134126_zpslft3ryxa.jpg
Small creeks cascade through the forest and into the sea.
 photo IMG_20141022_140340_zpsuta5bquz.jpg
The hike includes many short steep climbs up flights of stairs. As I walk I realise that the climate here in Busan is totally different to that further north. The leaves here are only just starting to turn yellow while in the northern mountains they are already colouring the mountainsides red.
 photo IMG_20141022_143110_zpsvtqifzhk.jpg
I reach the path’s end overlooking the Oryukdo Islands. There are many people here taking selfies and group photos in front of the view. Container ships cruise in and out of the port. I imagine all the Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kia products being exported to the four corners of the world. How interrelated we all are now in this global economy.
 photo IMG_20141022_150105_zpstuw0dxtz.jpg
I leave the coastal path and follow a road back towards my hostel. It’s another 5km away. The streets here in Busan all either go uphill or downhill as they wind between the cities many mountains. High rise apartments might dominate but nestled between there are still many shack-like neighbourhoods of blue-roofed homes. I haven’t yet explored the alleyways of these old neighbourhoods but will do so now that I’ve oriented myself a bit better in this sprawling metropolis.

Advertisements

One thought on “Igidae Park hike (Busan)

  1. Your analogy of the sound the sea makes as the waves retreat “sandpaper running over timber” describes it perfectly. The natural areas of Busan are just as lovely in your photos from the past few weeks.
    : )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s