Thursday, August 17, 2017

Pyeonchang - (Mount Sorak/Jeongdongjin/Daegwallyeong) - Korea Day 5

Tour guides can make or break your holiday. They sure can. They can either make your travel-gram memorable or ruin it all. But, for those of you who opt for traveling by your own back bone, you don’t have to give a damn on towering guides. Really, you don’t have to. Women like me on the other hand, I know I have a choice, whether I like it all in a tour or not, that’s beside the point. I still prefer tour travelling. Call me an orthodox traveler if you want, I am least bothered, a safe bet for me is an all planned and all paid for tour. Basically, everything is cared for, and mind you, I am a solo tour traveler. The only thing, that too not a major thing, is "sleeping alone" (ahem!). Actually, come to think of it, I can sleep with someone else, let's name it same-sex or different sex "tour travel", that by the way is not why I travel alone. My fear of sleeping alone is mainly because I am not a spooky friendly person, albeit I am on my own for days when my other half-half travels for work. 

Nevertheless, over time I have indeed picked up a few vital tips on “travel sleeping alone”. I knock and simultaneously ask for permission before entering the room, sometimes I wonder if foreign ghost can understand English. I still do anyway. I also, place my shoes or slippers facing the door instead of towards the room. I carry my Lord Ganesha and holy ash, and I sleep with all lights alert, including the bathroom lights, throughout the night. If I have to, I try not to, wake up to go the bathroom, god, mirrors are a taboo. Having said that, I encountered my first “terror- terrestrial’ attack in Sungkai, in Sri Lanka, I not only feared white flying terror, I was also worried if the male staff will be my uninvited terror. Imagine? Imagine staying in a run-down lodge, air-cond making hell of a noise throughout the night, and the main wooden door or even windows you can hard kick open? To tell you the truth, I hardly slept all night long, thank god, nothing unwarranted took place.  

For this Korea tour (Korea Day 1), ghost spookiness still wrestled, continued to wrestle and wriggle on my mind, but nothing potentially could have been worst for the 13 of us than guided by a terror uptight, all for himself and akin a Korean army commando guide. Educated and years of working experiences in US, according to his big show-off. It’s either his way or no way, if we ever question him on anything, he will turn into a “Korean terror”. I think he must be watching too many Korean dramas, he does gleam and beam the moment you mention "Gangnam" Singer PSY.  Did I dare open my big fat mouth? No. I didn’t want to ruin my holiday. Nevertheless, I was counting down my days. Three more days to go (Jeju Island Part 1 & Jeju Island Part 2) good riddance to this bad rubbish guide, Korea by itself, so far, didn’t capture my travel diary (Nami Island Korea). Moreover, with age catching up, I find it really hard to be away from home for more than 5 days. Homesick, the other is being away from my other half-half. Should anything happen to my other half-half, I don't want to live to regret for the rest of my life. I myself personally feel that its not fair to him because he can't function without me. Call it our Indian sentiment heritage.  

Coming back to this 5th day in Korea (Nami Island & Petite France), our first stop for the day was Mount Sorak. Mount Sorak! The stellar, picturesque and mountainous star attraction visited by millions throughout the year. Its akin a must on your travel back pack or front pack. Believe me. Ask any of your friends who have seen Mount Sorak, I bet they can't stop praising. Our expectation also ran high, we definitely looked forward to a mind blowing splendour in Mount Sorak. Happy moment built up even before we arrived, the moment we stepped foot at the entrance of Mount Sorak, oh-sure, impressive. We continued walking, passing by the huge red pine trees, we paused for a while in front of the biggest Buddha bronze statue in Korea, later, a 15 minutes stop at the same level Sinhung Temple/ "Divinely Inspired Temple”, which dates back to the 7th century. I joined in the prayers for 5 minutes, next, the cable car ride, prior to watching our steps while walking on the steep stone unbalanced steps to arrive at the height of Mount Sorak.

Designated as a Natural Monument preservation area in December 1973, speared further as a Biosphere Preservation District by UNESCO in August 1982, Mount Sorak is the highest mountain in Taebaek mountain range in Gangwon Province, in eastern South Korea and is also South Korea's third highest mountain, at 1,708 meters above sea level. Magnificent view. Mount Sorak utterly is Korea's pride and joy. No doubt. But since I have ventured to elsewhere mountains (Table Mountain South Africa & Flam Railway Norway), I know I shouldn’t compare, there shouldn't by right be comparison, or side by side analysis on each of the places we have visited, still, I can't help, I guess that's how it is once we gather more than enough moss for our travel "Instagram" experiences. 

Three solid hours in Mount Sorak National Park, thereafter lunch. Please, I am not even going to waste my time mentioning Korean hot pot or steam boat meals. In the afternoon, we were at Jeongdongjin. Billed as a favorite spot among the locals, Jeongdongjin gained widespread popularity after being chosen as the filming location for the popular soap opera Moraeshigae (Hourglass). Since then, Jeongdongjin has been crowned as a favorite haunt for "drama" lovers on weekends. What? Korean drama again? Seemingly. For tourist like me, its about less than two hours or so to view the World’s largest hourglass, the Time Museum and fun at the beach. Did I like it at Jeongdongjin? I didn’t mind.  

Our final stop for the day was Daegwallyeong Sheep Ranch for the moment of feeding the sheep, maybe for 10 minutes or so, followed by hands-on experience to “DIY” Cheese-Making. Boil the milk, add vinegar, drain the milk mixture into a muslin cloth, press down and decorate cheese with flowers.

Thereafter, its all yours. Self made cheese nibbled alongside free flow of wine and snacks. Did I even dare a tiny sip of wine? No. I was worried if I will get carried away and then press my panic button when my heart starts racing.
My heart sometimes is uncontrollable with or without alcohol, as it is two days ago when I was in Jeju Village, my panic attack almost got the better of me. So, better be safe, I definitely didn't want return home in a coffin, even though, frankly speaking, I do enjoy tipsiness. I said tipsy, not drunk please. By the way, this cheese we made is reckoned as world’s first, fast and furious cheese making. According to our guide. What? Are you kidding me? Have Koreans not heard of paneer/Indian cheese which goes back to ancient years? I guess you can fool a fool, am I a fool? I am? 
End of Day 5. 

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