Back on the river

(80 Kms)

Wednesday, 4 Oct, 2017

Chuncheon - Seoul

We had a leisurely start, and it was hard to get up as the bed in Chuncheon was the most comfortable yet. Fortunately, Georgia had knocked a print off the wall in the kitchen last night, revealing the thermostat for the floors which had been toasty warm - making the apartment too hot for comfort. After we managed to turn off the hot water as well we worked out the correct button and the floors returned to a normal temperature. The toilet seat must have been on a different circuit as it stayed warm.

About to leave on the final leg

Today was a public holiday for the main celebration of Chuseok, so we expected most places to be closed. But ever optimistic, we went in search of fresh bread on our way to the cycle path. No joy, but there had been some small rolls left for us in the apartment which would do for lunch.

The cycle path through Chuncheon was incredible, built in part over the water. We enjoyed the cycling and the views. There was reference everywhere to Romantic Chuncheon, though it was not clear just what made it so romantic.

The elevated Chuncheon cycle path

Looking at the cycle path ahead

View of the river from the path near Chuncheon

For a change, parts of the river were used for leisure craft. Simon stopped at what he thought was a bike pump, to find that it was an insect repellent spray. We had not been bothered by insects much at all, maybe it was more a summer need.

Peddle boats on the river

Insect repellent spray

The route continued along the river, with a very slight downhill gradient which we took advantage of, travelling effortlessly at over 20kms per hour. There was masses of traffic and the length of the traffic jams increased by the minute. We came across groups on quad bikes, seemingly going round in large circles. We soon left them behind, and as we cycled into Gapyeong, kept an eye out for a morning tea spot.

View from the cycle path

We found a lovely park, with lots of campers and a conveniently located coffee van. We finally ate the coconut biscuits that we had bought our first day in Korea and had now travelled over 700 kilometres with us. We watched a group playing badminton with quite some skill. We passed through our first of two tunnels, enjoying the lack of cars and the musak playing in the tunnel. Such a contrast to the previous day.

Morning tea spot with badminton

This is a nicer tunnel to ride through

There were lots of people out on the cycle path, mostly heading in the direction of Chuncheon. By now there were limited facilities on the path so we ended up having lunch in a dugout on a baseball pitch with a view towards the dam and the car park that was the main road. Of course, just a short distance after lunch we passed lots of benches in a lovely garden but we were well fed by then.

Lunch in the dugout

After a while the path turned onto the main road. Jonno was out of sight and I missed the turn, heading straight ahead on another bike path. Simon wasn't far behind and let me know I was on the wrong path. But it was ages till we found Jonno. I was concerned he had made my mistake, but turned out he had ducked off the path for a toilet stop and we had cycled past. He eventually caught up to us, and we continued along the path that abutted the main road. Not pleasant cycling for a few kilometres.

We finally left the road, and passed some beautiful gardens on our approach to Ungilsan station where we would pick up the metro back to Seoul, and our airbnb apartment in Itaweon. Being a public holiday, we could take our bikes in the first and last metro carriages. There were a few other bikes in the last carriage with us, but the other passengers were all quite accommodating.

Wildflowers outside Ungilsan

Waiting for the train

From the platform we could see the bridge we had crossed cycling out of Seoul on the first day, thus completing the loop.

Completing the loop

We had to make one change, which involved four lifts, with only one bike at a time fitting into the lift. At our destination station, a further three lifts were required. That made a total of 28 lift movements. From the station it was a quick trip back to Miel's cozy apartment where we had stayed when we first arrived. It felt like coming home.

We planned to have Thai for dinner having noticed that the Buddha's Belly restaurant nearby was open and busy. By the time we arrived, it was a 15-20 minute wait for a table. A lot of the restaurants were closed for the holiday. We considered a few alternatives but decided that we all felt like Thai so went back to wait. It wasn't long and we had a table. The service was quick and the food was excellent. Highly recommended.