This past weekend was very interesting… as they most usually are here in South Korea. I went for a hike on Saturday with a friend (technically two friends… but I will get to that later). Sunday I did some volunteering (I was feeding the homeless, so I don’t have any photos).
Ok Saturday… Initially my friend and I wanted to escape from the city…but pretty much from the start of the day the city was not going to let that happen. From running late to going the wrong way on the subway and then climbing a mountain with approximately 100 other hikers… the city had a different idea of what was in store for Saturday.
We met a very friendly Korean man on the subway that was very curious about our travels so we started to converse with him. It ended up that he was going to hike the same mountain we were planning on hiking. He was very friendly and ended up pretty much being our tour guide for the entire hike. He bought us roasted chestnuts and even bought us food after the hike. He was such a kind person and went out of his way for us without anyone asking him to, so I am very thankful for his helpfulness. I hope to be as accommodating for travellers in Canada as he was for me.
BUT… hiking here is very different from what we in Canada would call hiking. I know some friends that have been to Korea before are thinking ‘I told you so’… but hiking in Korea is something you really have to experience for yourself to fully understand just how different it is.
The base of the mountain had big brand names like ‘The North Face’ and ‘Columbia’ and there were stands selling everything from Soju (alcohol) to sunglasses. All the people hiking looked as though they were going on a 2 month expedition to the Yukon when actually they were all going on a one hour hike up a large rock face hill that could just maybe be called a mountain.
It was a cloudy day so I didn’t even try to take shots of the view. Also, the hundred other hikers already got a photo so I felt it was truly unnecessary to take one.
I could go on about this story but I will leave the rest up to your imagination… but closing with two thoughts, 1. There were some inebriated older men hiking up this mountain… and 2. I did get to see a pretty amazing view of the mountain at one of the many temples in Bukhansan National Park.
Sunday was truly great. I volunteered with a group called PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity and Respect) – every Friday and Sunday they ‘feed their seouls’ by buying groceries and making food bags to hand out to the homeless around Seoul Station. I have been feeling that I need to give back to this country that is accommodating me for a year and allowing me to travel around at my own pleasure. It is also a very good reminder of how lucky I am to be able to go on adventures like these ones I post on my blog. I really cannot explain how grateful the people receiving food were, just to see them smile really made me feel as though I had an impact on someone’s life. That is something that will stay with me forever.
Until next time, Much Love,