I don’t remember spending our summer vacation last year since August 1st was also the first day of my TESOL class year. While everyone was having fun at vacation spots, I was inside an air-conditioned classroom at Sookmyung University.
This year, our family went to Jecheon (my husband’s hometown) and met with his second (older) brother and his family. What is usually just a two-and-a-half hour drive turned out to be an exhausting and agonizing eight hours on the road. All roads leading to Gangwondo were clogged with vacationers. We thought that by taking the local road, we would be saved from the expected traffic. Thousands of other travelers thought the same thing! Not only did the roads resemble a huge parking lot but the heat and humidity (it was terribly humid last Saturday) added to our misery. I love traveling and I wouldn’t mind driving eight hours – or even 12! – if it wasn’t too hot and humid. We arrived in Jecheon at almost 7PM. My MIL prepared “samgyetang” (spring chicken stewed in ginseng) and I ate the whole chicken.
^^enduring the 8-hr traffic!
On Sunday morning, we were on the road again to Samcheok (a city in Gangwon-do or Gangwon province). We didn’t bring anything with us except for our swimming clothes. On a stop-over, I saw this old and dilapidated church. You don’t get to see this in Seoul.
After almost two-and-a-half hours, we arrived in Samcheon Beach hungry for some raw fish. We had lunch at one of the restaurants along the main street in front of the beach. A “raw fish course” totaled 270,000 won (about $220) for six adults and two kids. It was pretty expensive but there were more than 30 side dishes or “banchan” that were served. Of course, we asked for refills and I thought I ate a lot. I might need to check for the best weight loss pill again.
^^ partial serving of the side dishes – there were more than 30
^^ we ordered two different fish
After lunch, it was time to literally test the waters and boy was it cold! Sunday wasn’t as hot and humid as the previous day. I even had my son wore a light summer jacket! Although the weather that day wasn’t as “summery” as expected, it didn’t stop the “beachy” peeps from enjoying the waters. Samcheok isn’t a Boracay. It isn’t even a Puerto Galera but it’s good enough if you live in Korea. The beach is sandy, not muddy nor rocky. It is just perfect for my son who was more interested to play with the sand than take a dip in the sea.
Despite the chilly water, we still went on and swam. I noticed the buoys some 30 meters from the beach. My husband said they are markers for the net that would prevent people from going farther to the sea. The bodyguards were quite diligent whistling at people who gets near the buoys.
We were in the water for about 3 hours. My first brother-in-law arrived with his family in a newly acquired “Opirus” straight from their own summer outing in Yeongwol with his friends and their families. We convoyed to Donghae City, where he (BIL) has a small construction company. At 6PM, we navigated through Gangwon-do’s winding roads back to Jecheon. My MIL, who was in the Opirus, transferred to our Matiz after she complained of dizziness.
We started back to Seoul after lunch on Monday. The traffic back was normal but it was still slow on the other side going to Gangwon-do. We stopped by Icheon resting place that has a small park, a playground, a baseball hitting range. I bought tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) and ho-ddeok (Chinese pancake) with “shikye” or malt drink for our merienda.
Overall, it was a nice vacation despite the terrible traffic!