After scaring our children for life at the Nan Hyang Ro Won, we decided we had better take them for a little culture at the Arirang Theme Park (actually we accidentally ended up here thinking it was the 5 Day Market). This place wasn't that exciting, but we made it exciting....
Jeongseon is a working town, remember all the pictures of the people working in the fields from the rail bike blog? Well, they sell all their stuff at the 5 Day Market. The 5 Day market happens every 5 days, on the 2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22th, 27th of every month but it is open every day. Makes sense, I know. Anyhoo - it was not totally what I expected, but things were MUCH, MUCH cheaper here than in Seoul. Here are a few pictures from the 5 Day Market, (we went on the 10th, so it was not really open). ?
Nan Hyang Ro Won
O I N K! We often say this when we see something we normally do not see in the states, or anywhere else for that matter...O I N K ~ It stands for Only IN Korea!
Nan Hyang Ro Won is one of the most O I N K places I have seen! Are you ready for this?
I copied the next paragraph right from this website. I did not correct their spelling or writing. This is a great example of 'Konglish' .... hold on tight as pictures will follow! ;-)
"In the past people displayed a tone which look like a woman's vagina. Shortly after the housewives stated cheating on thier husbands. Then people put another phalic shaped rock beside the woman's rock and the local men's peace came back. This story sounds like a fairy tail but it it really happened. There is also a park for stones located at Na Jeon station, Buk Pyong - myoun, called " Nan Hyang Ro Won ". Once you enter this small park you will see interesting rocks most of them look like a penis or vagina. Some of the mail rocks are very majestic. Two of the femal rocks are called grand daughtor and grond mother. The Grand mother rocks a expecially interesting because the grand mother rock has a huge hole. When poeple come through it, it look like a mmother giving birth. Till last year only a few rocks were there. These rocks were discovered in different parts of the city from 1971. At that time it was believed that if women touched the vagina rocks they would cheat on thier husbands to counter this, poeple curried vagina rocks in. But after that there werw many car accidents and local poeple getting sick with no reason. So the people dug up the vagina rock again. But Jeong Seon Province still wanted to keep thier wives from cheating, so they brought in the penis rock. Meanwhile local people thought if the vagina rock and penis rock were together then it would keep Yin and Yang in harmony. At first local people worried that something bad would happen when the penis rock came in. But nothign came of it. Local women don't have extra-marital affairs even though they touch the vagina rocks. Man's and Woman's energies are said to gather here. Many couples come and pray for their marriage, babies and their bealth. Tourist take pictures of those rare shaped rocks. This spot is becaming a tourist hot spot."
Fun Stuff In Jeongseon
I read online about this cool waterfall...& the picture on this site is beautiful. Really, click; go look at what at is online. This is what we found. Seriously, there is a waterfall behind me!
Back at the pension we went to the 'beach' where we had tons of fun! For some reason we are attracted to streams. We skipped rocks here; Hubby is excellent at skipping rock! And we played on the beach and in the stream. Inevitably someone always ends up very wet when we do something like this, but that just makes it more fun! On this trip Boy 1 started building a rock bridge out to a little 'island' in the steam, eventually everyone pitched in to help. I enjoyed sitting back watching while all the kids work together. Several times I thought to myself, how great this was as I watched my children all working together without fighting or squabbling. I can't tell you how much joy this day brought me.
The next morning Hubby and I woke up early and headed out for a hike. Boy 3 VOLUNTEERED to stay in the pension with his younger siblings while we hiked. (Anything to get out of hiking!) It was such a nice morning to be hiking with the one I love. As we walked we noticed how quiet it was and we talked about how 'this' is how it was going to be when the kids were off on their own. (Not that we are rushing things.) But then reality hit and we realized we would be MUCH OLDER when the kids had moved on and how ONE of us (me) would be pushing the other person (him) up the mountain in a wheel chair!
This is the trail we followed, and if you look closely you will see our tour guides ~ 3 dogs that live at the pension guided us up the mountain. I love the foggy effect....
Sometimes we find the oddest things while hiking.....
After our hike we went back to the pension, packed up and headed out to our next destinations, Nan Hyang Ro Wan, some place we thought was the 5 Day Market, the 5 Day Market & Hwa-am Cave!
But first, here we are in some rice paddies!
Our Pension in Jeongseon
Some of you may be wondering what a pension is. I like to describe it as a bed and bed and breakfast, without the bed or the breakfast. Here are a few pictures of our pension...
Although I am very thankful for a western toilet, please take note of the shower....see it? It is right there, to the left side of the photo - look up on the wall to the left side of the mirror, between the mirror and the cabinet -. Oh yes, that is right it is right there! Also notice the sink for brushing your teeth and washing your hands? That's right; it is in the picture above! The sink is in the KITCHEN! No sink in this bathroom! Seriously, I'm was just happy to have the toilet!
Here is our room when our beds are made -
Isn't this fun? This is about as close to camping as I like to get, and let me tell you after a night of sleeping on the floor with 6 people in the room you really do feel a bit like you were camping!
The first thing you need to know when staying in a pension or a hotel in Korea is that you really should bring your own pillows. Trust me on this one. They have pillows like sandbags in many places. The next thing you should know is to pack like you are going camping. I always take a roll of toilet paper with us, we didn't need it this time, but you never know. You also want to bring food that your kids will like to eat, because sometimes you just never know. Our kids love Korean food, but it was nice having breakfast in the room. The other thing is take some sort of coffee with you. We take the little instant Korean coffee packets everywhere we go now and this time I actually bought some of those cold Starbucks drinks and stuck them in our cooler this time and I must say, they came in quite handy! Oh, and you can't forget the napkins. Korean really have something against napkins and papertowels ~ you can rarely find them, and when you do they are tiny ~ just take your own! I would also suggest bringing handheld video games as well as a portable DVD player, and of course bring some games to play! If you do all of this you are sure to have a great time!
Don't forget to bring your own cocktails like we did, or you might just get stuck with what they have at the local convenience store, like this "House Wine" that cost all of 2,000 won, it taste 2,000 won good as well...
We took this picture for my MIL - don't you own this blanket?
And a few pictures from outside the pension.
Oh, one more thing, the owners of the pension spoke no English, and we speak no Korean. Thank goodness for our friend that booked for us! We had a great time here! Stay tuned for our hike and building of a rock bridge....
Jeongseon Rail Bike
The main reason we went to Jeongseon was to ride the rail bike! What is a rail bike you ask? "It's a pedal powered vehicle built to run exclusively on a disused railway track." (Their words, not mine.)
Back in the day Jeongseon was a large coal producing town, but due to the decline in the coal industry Jeongseon found itself with empty tracks. The people in the area didn't want to see the tracks go to waste so they concocted the 'Rail Bikes', and I am so glad they did! This was a great day to hang out with the family!
To make a reservation you need to go to the website listed above, but you will need to plan WAY in advance as they only make 50 reservations for each day on line. If you want to go and you are not planning your trip in advance (like us) you will need to arrive at 8AM the day you want to ride to make your reservation for later in the day. This is the part that stressed me out....."What if they are full? What if I come all this way and I don't get to ride?" Well, I need to relax. (Which I find hard to do.) Now, I don't think I mentioned this part - my Korean friends booked everything for us - including our pension, which they were not going to make a reservation for, we were just supposed to show up...I will get to that in another blog. And they, along with Hubby were the ones telling me not to worry - everyone will all get to ride. In fact, my friends left their house in Suwon at 4AM so they could arrive at the rail bikes by 8AM to make our reservations! (They were also going - a total coincidence.) We didn't leave our house till 6AM.
OK, OK, on to the bike ride!
A couple of things you should know if you plan to do the rail bikes. First off - If there are more than 2 of you, buy the 2 seaters. You can connect the two seaters together with a bar and all ride together. We didn't know this, so myself, Boy 1, Boy 3 and Girl were WAY far away from Hubby and Boy 2, so we didn't get to enjoy this together as a family. On the flip side, Boy 2 and Hubby did get some nice one on one bonding time. Secondly, one person can pedal an entire bike, so no need to worry about people that don't pull their weight - there is no work out involved in this at all. And the third thing I would like to mention - if you go in the fall, take jackets or blankets!! This ride gets cold especially for the little people!
OK, here we go....
At the end of your bike ride, you can get a bite to eat in this big fish made out of an old train car. (There are actually 2 big fish.)
Then you ride back on a train that is jam packed full of people! While you are riding the train is pulling the bikes back to the start location.
The rail bikes are so much fun! At one point Boy 1 said "Mom, this is SO much better than hiking!" (And I thought he liked hiking! ;-)
Road Trip to Jeongseon!
Hubby is a little more adventurous than I am. Well, maybe not more adventurous, but more spontaneous - he is a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy, where I need to have a plan, and I want the plan laid out, day, by day, hour by hour on what we are doing, how we are getting there and so on. This weekend was more of a 'Hubby' style weekend, as I didn't have much control over the situation. Several months ago my friend (she is Korean) told me about an adventure she and her family went on, they went to Jeongseon and rode the rail bikes and toured a cave. I decided while talking to her that this is something our family would love to do, we just had to find the right weekend. That weekend was Columbus Day weekend!
Here we are at the beginning of our road trip....we got the kids out of bed at 6AM, threw them in the car and started driving. Hubby is always the navigator and I am the driver. (I can't navigate a fly out of the house, much less a trip 4 hours away by car in a foreign country....)
After about an hour into our trip everyone was hungry & needed to go potty so we stopped at a rest stop for food and a toilet. (We had the children get dressed before we took them in.) Some of you that have been reading this blog for a while may remember that I have a thing for taking pictures in bathrooms....well, it has rubbed off on Hubby, this picture is courtesy of him:
The other thing that has rubbed off on some of us is the Korean style breakfast! A nice hot bowl of (fish) noodles! However some of us (the three little people) can't hack the noodles for breakfast just yet, so they had Dunkin' Donuts.
Korea really is a beautiful country. I think we went through at least 10 tunnels before we go to Jeongseon. Hubby enjoyed tormenting the kids in the tunnel. He would pause the TV while going throug them, telling them he didn't want them to "miss the tunnel". He's a freak and the kids will need therapy because they will have a fear of going throug tunnels when they become adults!
More to come soon.....
Boy 3 did a fun photo shoot at Olympic park last week and Flat Stanley came along for the ride....
So, I guess we have never seen a 'Korean' squirrel before, because this crazy little fellow reminded us of a mix between a squirrel and a kangaroo! He was bouncing all over the place. We had fun chasing him around trying to get a good picture of him.
Boy 3 really just wanted to play with the balloons.
I loved the scarecrows at the park....
It is so peaceful in the park, it amazes me that the city is so close, but you don't hear it while you are in the park.
My New Favorite Korean Restaurant
Hubby and I found this great little galbi restaruant a few weeks ago, we liked it so much we took the kids back the following weekend. To get here take the blue line, line 4 to Chongshin University, go out subway exit #1 and walk straight go to the first BIG intersection (you will have to wait for a light to cross), once you cross the street, turn right, you will walk about 1 block, right after you pass a small hospital (you will know it is a hospital because there is normally an ambulance sitting out front AND there are patients all over the streets in their hospital pajamas) you will see this restaurant, it is the very first restaurant past the hospital. Just FYI, there are NO ENGLISH menus or pictures.
This is the best little galbi restaurant I have eaten at here in Seoul, no joke! I am sure there are better ones out there, but this is the best I have had, and the price was great! For our family of 6 (we had beef and pork galbi) we paid 65,000 won! Here is what our meal looked like....
Oh baby, I'm hungry!
Two weekends ago we hiked Mt. Yongmasan (the other side of Mt. Achasan). Let's get the directions out of the way, here they are:
Take Subway Line 7 to Yongmasan Station (Exit 2) → Walk into the entrance of Hanshin Apartments, and walk ahead → Go up the stairs next to the pavilion and take a right past the playground to an exercise facility → Next to the facility, go up the stairs behind the wired fence.
Time: From the summit of Mt. Yongmasan to Mt. Achasan, it takes about 2 hours to 2 and a half hours.
Here are the rules.....does that really mean 'no coughing'?
It is all about the snacks....we had to stop before we even started the hike to eat snacks and feed the birds....
I picked this hike because of the waterfall - I wanted to mix things up a bit. The kids do not want to go hiking every weekend anymore - to them we could be hiking the same mountain each week & they wouldn't know the difference. They just know they are climbing. At first they loved it, now they complain until we get there, but they have a good time once we start climbing. So I thought the waterfall would be a nice change in scenery for them, I totally talked it up. This is what it says about it on the 'official site of Korean tourism';
"... make sure to stop by Yongmasan’s Waterfall Park. The largest man-made waterfall in Asia, where the central falls are 51 meters high, while those on each side are 21 meters. At regular intervals, the water volume increases making a stronger flow."
This is what we got....
nothing, nada, zip! The waterfall was not flowing AT ALL! So up the hill we went....
Somehow we got off the main trail and ended up here. This is when things started going awry....
Soon after this picture was taken, we got a little stuck. Boy 1 went ahead to see if he could find the trail again. We were on some pretty big rocks, and I was nervous because of the little ones. Then Boy 1 slipped, and all I saw was him sliding down the mountain then nothing. My heart missed a few beats, and I instantly went numb. I just knew my boy had fallen down the mountain. I couldn't understand why Hubby wasn't moving very fast to go help him. As it turns out he only slipped out of my sight, (I was pretty far away from him), just a few feet, nothing major and he wasn't injured at all. Thank GOD! So, Hubby and Boy 1 found a way back to the trail, however on the way back to the main trail we had to step over ....get ready to gag..... ****HUMAN POOP***
Oh goodness it was awful, we warned EVERYONE...step over the poop!! Everyone but girl stepped over it. I'm gagging just thinking about it. I will stop there. Just know, it was rough.
After my heart attack and the poop episode we got back on track and finished off our hike with a little fun....
And on the way down, we took the stairs...
Grilled Spicy Chicken Wings
Hubby says these are the best chicken wings I make. I got this recipe out of a grilling magazine a few years ago. They are very simple, delicious and surprisingly much spicier than they look! I always have people devouring the celery & blue cheese after a couple of bites!
5 pounds of chicken wings
3 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
3 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano.
Blue Cheese dressing
Combine all spices, sprinkle over chicken wings & grill! Grill about 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
Proud Army wife and mother to 4 wonderful children. I love to cook, travel, work out and scrapbook life’s adventures when I find the time. We just got orders & are heading back to the states in March 2010. I'm bummed that our time has been cut short, but proud of Hubby for the reason why.
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