In search of a supermarket

(58 Kms)

Wednesday, 27 Sept, 2017

Donghae - Gangneung

A check of naver maps showed that the best place to get our bread supplies was back towards Mokpo, the route we had travelled the day before. Armed with a phone marking the route, I headed in to buy bread leaving the rest of the family to finish breakfast and pack up.

View out of the room

Looking down on our bikes chained to the railing

The road was much quieter in the early morning, and I passed a fish market opening for the days trade. The sky was ominous and it looked like we were in for a few showers.

It was dry when we set off along the coast road. We were on a clearly marked path, but it was not the separate cycle path we had come to know and love on our route to Andong. We passed active fishing ports and cycled through small towns along the waters edge. The rain eventuated as the skies had promised, light at first but gradually getting heavier.

Loading up the treddlies

The beach

Small fishing port

Preparing the nets

We pressed on, enjoying some beautiful coastal views, and decided to stop for a coffee as we were getting quite drenched. The cafe sign said it opened at 10am and it was now 10.30 but there was noone around so we stood under the shelter for a while. As we got ready to go someone turned up - too late as the rain had eased and we were going to make the most of the drier weather.

Good decision as we hit a hill, 7% for 500 metres. Previous experience indicated that the road was likely to be much steeper for much longer, and sure enough as a van turned the corner in front of me, it skidded and lost traction on the road. A good indicator to take the corner wide. It was a long, steep hill. We decided that there had been a job lot sale on signs for 7%, 500 metres.

As we sped down the hill, towards Jeongdongjin beach, you could just catch a glimpse of the hotel designed as an ocean liner. The Sun Cruise Resort. I had considered it as a place to stay, but the reviews indicated that it was fairly average, so we admired it's ridiculousness from afar. Who thought of creating such a monstrosity?


We stopped for a fairly average coffee in the town and Georgia had a green tea latte, which she had spotted at another coffee shop, but it was too sweet. Maybe a better coffee shop would have done it better. We passed a time museum in a train, but decided not to stop to investigage.

We were looking forward to our three bedroom Airbnb apartment that we had booked in advance and decided to head there for lunch. We planned one more snack stop which came early when Georgia got the first puncture for the trip. Fortunately it was in a picturesque area. Simon had plenty of helpers so I crossed the railway line to investigate the beach. Part of it was open, but part closed off with the barbed wire we had started to notice along the beachfronts. A reminder that South Korea is still officially at war with North Korea.

Fixing Georgia's flat

A helper

This is not a life guard tower

Puncture mended we found some new hill signs. 5% for 300 metres, which were more accurate. As we came down the other side we passed observation posts that may or may not have been armed. At Unification Park there was a warship and a mini submarine that you could climb through. It was clearly not of interest to the kids as they hadn't stopped.

One of the many observation posts we passed

North Korean mini sub at Unification Park

Korean warship at Unification Park

The path veered off the main road and we enjoyed some quiet estuaries and rural views as detoured around an airbase.

Rice fields

Formation cycling through rice fields

Quiet estuary

Entrance to the air base we had to detour around

The apartment meet our expectations with a bedroom each. We were filthy as were our panniers, helmets and water bottles. We cleaned them up as best we could, and settled down for a late lunch. It was such a nice apartment that we decided to eat in, and Georgia offered to make spaghetti carbonara. Simon and I headed off on the bikes to the nearby hypermarket leaving the kids to enjoy the wi-fi. Big disappointment to find it was closed. A number of cars drove past us clearly expecting it to be open, so we assumed it must have ceased operating very recently.

Undeterred we found a Homeplus a further 2.5 Kms away. Even bigger disappointment to find it was also closed. A helpful Korean lad advised that it was due to a holiday. No home cooked dinner for us as we cycled home.

Just as we neared the cycle path, I spotted what looked to be an open supermarket. We were so excited! It had most of what Georgia needed for her pasta dinner, except parmesan cheese. We even bought some Korean cabinet savignon, and some beer as back up. Happy now we cycled back along the river path with dinner sorted.

Georgia cooking dinner with some helpers

Dinner is served