Travelling to the east coast

(18 Kms)

Tuesday, 26 Sept, 2017

Andong - Donghae

With a few hours to kill until our train, we cycled out along the river path to visit the Andong Folk Museum. It was lovely riding bikes without panniers in the cool of the morning.

Heading towards the Andong Folk Museum

The museum was small, but interesting with the signs in English as well as Korean. The museum displayed scenes from the birth of a child, through to adolescence and adulthood, culminating in death rites. We learnt more about the Andong region which is famous for its chillis and ability to grow varied crops including rice and hemp. The scenes emphasized the patriarchal nature of Korean society which was reflected in the layout and use of rooms in the traditional houses.

Also of interest was the tradition of the bridegroom giving a wooden duck to the father of the bride, and the presentation of food for the two wedding ceremonies.

In between rooms a man was demonstrating the use of inkstone, ink and brush. He wrote out Georgia's and Jonno's name on fine paper in Hangul script.

Jonno with his name in Hangul

Georgia with her name in Hangul

Back on the bikes we cycled down to an old wooden bridge and walked across it to head back to the hotel.

Old wooden bridge

A pagoda in the middle of the bridge

We had organised to checkout at midday so relaxed for a while before heading to the station. We left Simon minding the bikes and walked the short distance to Homeplus to pick up lunch supplies for our train journey.

Guarding the bikes

It was with some trepidation (on my part) that we entered the station to await the announcement to head to the platform. A few people looked at us curiously but no-one said anything and the ticket seller made no comment when we finally passed through the gate with our laden bicycles.

Once on the platform we removed our front wheels and attached them to the bikes as agreed. We weren't sure of the location of the cafe car so watched carefully as the train approached. We all had our allocated jobs. Georgia and I boarded with all the panniers whilst Jonno and Simon sorted the bikes. I went back to assist but there were passengers helping to move the bikes and get them onboard.

Soon enough the train was moving and we are settling into our seats with a big sigh of relief (on my part). The bikes were all lined up under the raised benches in the cafe car, attached securely and out of the way.

All bikes tucked away in the cafe car

Chief bike handler at work

Jonno was ready for lunch and suggested that we make it up in the cafe car, an excellent idea. For a change we had some spicy chicken skewers and cream cheese to add to our fresh baguette and wholemeal bread. We enjoyed our delicious lunch watching the scenery outside the window rather than being in the midst of it. A Korean man was also in the cafe car and he took a photo of us, and then got Georgia to take on of him with Simon. As he left he gave us a little package of red tea leaves to try.

Preparing lunch in the cafe car

Lunch time

It was a pleasant train trip along rivers with mountain views most of the way. Made all the more enjoyable by viewing them from a comfortable seat. The train was quite empty so we didn't have to worry about our bikes being in the way

We arrived at Donghae and put our bikes back together to cycle to the Magenta Hotel. We had estimated it as being 2.5 km but it turned out to be more like 10kms. We had to keep an eye out for pedestrians as we cycled through the town.

We found the seafront, and soon after, the hotel. We were shown our room, but there was only one bed and no mattresses for the kids. We spent quite some time convincing the girl who was working in the cafe and responsible for the room reception that we had booked a family room for four people. She was on the phone to the owner and wanted to charge us extra for the additional bedding. In the end I brought up and showed the option of booking a family room for four people with sea views. She conversed further with the owner and told us had mis-configured the room. However, she brought us the extra mattress and gave us free iced teas so all was good in the end.

We made it to the sea

The bathroom was interesting with the shower in the middle and no screens, meaning you have to cross a wet floor to reach the toilet. Otherwise the room was large and nicer than we had experienced to date.

We set off to look for dinner but our usual approach didn't work as much of the seating was upstairs. All offered fresh fish at expensive prices. We entered one and started using Google translate to understand the menu. When we finally asked a question, we were told the restaurant was closed. We tried another and they asked us to choose a fish. Uncertain as to how it would be served, we tried a cluster of restaurants in search of someone who spoke some English. A young girl came to help us and suggested a noodle dish with some shellfish and squid. We agreed.

Dinner arrived and it turned out that the noodles were made of raw squid In a cold chilli broth with cabbage and cucumber. It was completely different to anything we had eaten before. Fortunately it came with rice so Jonno could add the broth to the rice as he wasn't too keen on the raw squid. There were also some delicious side dishes including octopus, mackerel, a seafood pancake, whiting and a croquette as well as the usual kimchi and peanuts that looked like they were marinated in squid ink. An interesting dinner but not one we are keen to repeat.

Georgia with her raw squid dinner

Jonno adding the broth to his rice