Leaving the Seoul metro area it was surprising how quickly we got into agricultural areas. South Korea is very densely populated — of the 15 most densely populated countries in the world the only one larger than South Korea is Bangladesh (most are city states and/or islands). However, it’s the cities that are super dense. There really are agricultural areas and natural areas.
We mostly saw rice growing,
but we also saw more persimmons than I’ve ever seen anywhere. Often they were ripe, falling off the trees ready to eat. Ferda hated to see the waste and started her own “save the persimmons” campaign. She collected them, and it was Jack and my job to eat them.
Korean cyclists often stopped and gave us apples. Korean apples are quite large, very tasty, and sell for over US$1 each. We found a place to pick our own where you pay by weight. However, when Ferda went to pay for the three apples she picked, the kind older couple smiled and waved us away. They’re a gift, they said.
Of course at almost every meal we ate kimchi made from leafy greens so we saw those growing as well.
Fermentation takes place in containers like these:
And that brings us to food, the highlight again. Korea has a number of things that are translated to English as “pancakes”. We found this “pancake” at a festival:
and this giant green “pancake” when we went for beers in Galjeon-ri:
At that restaurant they also brought us a bowl of seaweed and a glove. Well, under the seaweed was rice, fish roe, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Ferda took the glove, mashed everything together, and made us yummy sushi-like cigar-shaped things. We learned later that these are seaweed rice balls if you shape them correctly. 🙂
On the weekend we rode by a group of Harley riders who invited us to their pork bbq.
Climbers at the side of the bicycle path wanted to be sure we tried this, a acorn flour (?) thing with soft tofu consistency:
We did manage to find a few attractions besides the food. After striking out at the first royal tomb, we had slightly better luck in Yeoju. The Royal Tomb of King Sejong was closed for restoration, but (yeah!) we got to see the Royal Tomb of King Hyojong with its well-preserved attendants’ house.
Here’s Yeoju from bike path:
In Chungju we camped in a park so we were able to see the pagoda lit up with colorful lanterns at night.
In Galjeon-ri we saw both preserved historic buildings:
and new government buildings built in a traditional style:
Our farthest diversion from the Four Rivers path this week was to head east to Andong to the UNESCO-listed village of Hahoe where both tile and thatched-roof buildings are well preserved. It’s quite a picturesque area.
I’ll end with a few random photos from the road.
Looks like a good time!
Great to read this!
Your food issues were not unlike those we faced in Malaysia – difference being Malaysia has 3 main food cultures – Malay, Chinese and Indian – all damned good. Gained back the 9 pounds I’d lost in Spain, now in Thailand I have to be more careful 🙁