Saturday 19 November 2011

An Autumn Sonata

Last week we went on a teachers trip with school. I was quite excited because I've never been on a proper trip with school. Once a month we have a wednesday afternoon where each grade's teachers go out together to 'bond'. This usually means we go to the cinema, or out for a meal. Every now and then the teachers are busy and can't spare the afternoon off and I usually get to go home early. Once a year the school's budget is stretched to a big trip away somwhere. Apparently it used to be for an overnight trip, but as teachers with children couldn't participate in that one, and the district office cut the budget for teaches social events, now it's just an afternoon/evening thing. So we were taking our big trip this year to Nami Island. It is a small island in the bukhan river. It's a popular place for tourists (particularly the Japanese) because it was the setting for popular K-drama 'Winter Sonata'. All around the island there are pictures and signs showing screenshot from the show and what happened on each spot. The most famous part of the island is an avenue of very large trees which also appears on the ticket to enter the island. 

In 2006 the Island 'officially' declared it's a republic and the ticket declares itself your 'entry visa' which you have to show when passing through 'immigration' onto the ferry. All very cute-sy. Our trip started with a coach ride from school. Sometimes I wonder how Korean's keep their svelt figures because, at school at least, there are so many snacks dolled out constantly! This trip was no exception as about 10 minutes into the journey a box of clementines began being passed around (ok so they're not fattening, but...), following that was boxes of popcorn and bottles of water. Shortly after that the teacher organising the trip came round handing out small goody bags packed with twix bars, chewy sweets, sweet and savoury biscuits, chewing gum and tissues (very handy with the cold I've now caught!). Also on this goody bad was a small sticker with a number printed on it. This was my raffle number. Korean raffles are not like ones in the UK, everyone gets a prize... We found out what we'd won on the way back and I was the lucky recipient of a dish scourer, Handy I suppose.

It was a pleasant journey, and it's always nice to get out of the city centre and away from the sky scrapers. So away we headed into the countryside. I'm very used to making journeys out of a city and into the countryside, as with Essex's proximity to London we pass from rolling green fields in Ongar (in the car) to Epping (onto the underground) and into central London through stratford. Something I've become very aware of since moving and travelling around Korea is just how green it is at home. In Korea the colour of the coutryside is grey and brown. Even the green that is there, grass, leaves, bushes, are a faded colour. I assume this is due to the climate, so next time you're cursing the random downpour in summer or rain at your BBQ remember that it's the rain that makes our countryside so vivid and beautiful.Anyway it is still nice to get out to a place not be surrounded by buildings.

When we arrived we took the ferry over to the island and after strict instructions (be back at 'Mr Dokgalbi' by 6 or else no dinner) we headed off to explore and wander around the island. It was a lovely day, the autumn colours were everywhere and as it was mid-week there were hardly any other people about. The scenery was great and the only negative thing about the afternoon was having to run away from the crazy wild ostrichs who live on the island. They're not contained and wander where ever they want. They are also not freindly, one of our 5th grade teachers got pecked by one while waiting for the ferry back to the mainland!

As Wendy and I had found out on our earlier trip to this area of Korea, the famous dish in these parts is dak galbi. A chicken dish which gets cooked in front of you. It's a little bit spicy and that was what we had for dinner. After we'd finished eating, we had a school quiz. Obviously everything was in Korean so I couldn't answer any of the questions, but regardless we all received a free lottery ticket (correct quiz answers afforded an extra ticket). On the way home we listened to the lottery draw but there was not a winner amonst us! Overall this was a great trip and one that is well worth it if you're looking for somewhere to go out of the city.

Coach snacks

A little train which goes around the island
The famous avenue of trees

People stacks stones on top of one another and make a wish

The characters in the story made a snowman before their first kiss, so there is a model snowman to recreate the scene, come rain or shine!

Site of the main characters' first kiss

Din dins
chopsticks are great, but here's clear proof that sometimes a knife would work better.
Naughty Ostrich
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1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous pictures!!! And oh... I miss Korean food so much!