Endless Beaches

(73 Kms)

Friday, 29 Sept, 2017

Gangneung - Sokcho

It was a glorious morning. The wind had dropped, the sky was blue, and the rain and winds had cleared the haze. As we cycled down cafe street you could see the mountain ridges lined with wind turbines.

Anmok beach was still, and I noticed a tribute to coffee that I had missed the previous day, opposite the coffee museum. We cycled through little villages with busy ports. Even along the coast there were vegetable gardens. Clearly no king tides here.

Anmok Beach

Coffee tribute sculpture

We continued past the famous Gyeongpo beach, reputed by some to be the best beach in Korea. It was lined with fresh fish restaurants and there was an enormous building under development. It was a thriving area.

Georgia at Gyeongpo Beach

We stuck to the coast as much as possible, taking quiet back roads rather than staying on the cycle path that ran beside the main road. One such detour took us into Sacheon beach, a quite little haven with an appealing coffee shop that we couldn't resist.

Sacheon Beach

Sacheon Coffee House

Waiting for our coffees and shakes

Soon after we passed through Jumunjin Port which was chaotic, cars and people everywhere. The road was lined with shops selling dried squid and varieties of dried fish. From there we meandered our way past endless beaches, stopping at one for a late morning tea and to test out the swinging chairs that lined the beaches.

Wonder what they sell here?

Jumunjin Port

Jumunjin Port market stall selling dried squid

Morning tea photo

Testing out the swinging chairs on the beach

The road headed inland, and at one point was too steep to ride up. We hit the coast once more, but knowing it was only for a short distance before we rode inland again, we stopped for lunch. The beach was lined with toilet blocks but only one was open and it was filthy, which is unusual based on our experience to date.

This one was too much, even for Jonno

Lunch stop

We pressed on to Naksan temple built high above the sea, with amazing views. We left our bikes near the entrance and wandered through the extensive grounds. The site goes back about 1300 years though some was destroyed by fire around 10 years ago and rebuilt. One striking statue was the Bodhisattva of Mercy who enjoyed stupendous views down the coast from her place of prominence on the cliff top. There were several buildings and and other statues of interest, making for a pleasant visit.

Pavilion at Naksan Temple

Bodhisattva of Mercy statue

At Naksan

One of the four Heavenly Kings

It was another 12kms into the Sokcho & Guesthouse where we had booked to stay. We showered quickly and headed out to the nearby markets for dinner. I had researched the local specialities and we tried most of them. We sat down at one stall and ate shallot pancakes which were cooked in front of us. Next were some fried prawns. We purchased some of the local fried chicken, squid shaped steamed buns filled with bean paste and some dumplings filled with seafood and meat, and the shopkeeper through in an extra kimchi one for free.

We also bought some apples and plums, though I mistakenly paid more the have them hand-picked from the pile rather than those contained in the little metal tray.

We took our food back to the guesthouse, and walked into a packed kitchen area. There was a big European group at one set of tables, and a Korean group at the other. We had to stand at the kitchen bench to eat our dinner. Finally some tables cleared and we could sit down. One of the French girls asked us where we bought our dinner as it looked so delicious, and the big group set off to find food. The kitchen area was now empty. We chatted a little to the manager who gave us the most enormous nashi pear to try.

It was not quite enough for dessert so we ventured back out to the markets to an ice cream stall we had spotted earlier. Unfortunately it was closed, as was most of the market by then. We found some local donut twists which satisfied Jonno's sweet craving and headed back to the guesthouse.