This weekend was the world famous Jindo Sea Parting Festival and I desperately wanted to go. I mean, the sea parts for an hour and a half, on two days, once a year, and you can walk from one island to another across the sea.B How amazing is that?! Ya, I was pumped.
I had a dog sitter all lined up, I had spent weeks gathering travel info and getting people to help me gather festival info, and we were going to make it happen. Right. Until reason set in when I realized that it was going to take waaaaay too long to get there and if even one little thing went awry we would have spent 8 hours on a bus and missed the parting, and had to turn around and spend another 8 hours on the bus to get back, without having seen a thing. Soooo we didn’t get to go. Sad.
However, as my consolation prize, we did get to go to Tongyeong! It’s a town in amidst a bunch of little islands right off the coast, not far from Busan. It was only an hour and a half bus ride (*info on how to get there at the bottom of this post) from Busan so we arrived by noon. The weather was relatively cheery and we hadn’t bothered to book a hotel room, so we grabbed a tourist map and took off on foot to find somewhere to stay.
Turns out the place is kind of huge. Sprawling, really. And the hotels are all in cahoots! We went to a few different hotels (we couldn’t find any love motels!) and we ended up paying $100 for a night. That’s about double what we should have paid here in Korea. That didn’t even include breakfast! But at that point we were already a bit in for taxis and continuing to waste our day looking for cost-effective lodging didn’t seem the best use of time. So we sucked it up, got a hotel by the canal, dropped our stuff, and set off to explore.
Tongyeong boasts the longest cable car in the country (and I think the fastest, too). We sped up Mt. Mireuksan (or just Mireuksan, since ‘san’ means ‘mountain’ in Hangeul) and arrived to the top with breathtaking views. After another jaunt up a rather long staircase (we climbed stairs steady for almost 15 minutes), we arrived at the peak.
It really was gorgeous! As you can see from the photos, the islands dot the seascape on three sides and Tongyeong is nestled in at the base of the mainland. Despite the foggy day, it was beautiful and we spent a good chunk of time just taking it all in (and caught our breaths from all the steps!).
By mid afternoon, it was starting to cloud in and the wind was picking up. A quick check of the weather forecast told us it was set to rain at some point, so we opted to leave the boat tour through the islands until the next day and headed over to check out the “Art Walk”.
It’s a small area above the canal harbour where some artists have graffiti-ed the sides of buildings. It was cute and charming and so typically Korean-tourist-attraction, in that they made it seem unmissable when it is, in fact, a few walls with a few pictures of cartoons. Then again, I like those kinds of things 😉
It was starting to rain so we headed back down to the harbour, stopped to check out some crazy war ships (used in battle against the Japanese and replete with stakes on the roof), and grabbed a coffee with a view.
We also mauwed down (how do I spell that?!) on some of Tongyeong’s famous Omisa honey bread. I forgot to take a picture!B You can google it 😉 but they are little round honey donuts, with different savoury fillings. One must have been pea or bean because it was green, another was sweet potato I am sure, and the third type was a mystery. They weren’t bad, they were even kinda good, but I am a girl who will, I think, always prefer her savoury and sweet options separate.
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