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14 April 2004
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Korea Life Blog - Kwang Kyo San in Suwon

Awhile back Windy recommended I visit Kwang Kyo Mountain in Suwon. There's a bus near my home that goes right to it. With nothing to do last weekend, Julie and I decided to give it a try, not really sure what to expect. Whenever I hear the word "mountain" I envision a real mountain. However, most mountains in Korea are just gigantic hills. There really needs to be a word for something between a hill and a mountain like you'd find in the Rockies.

Turns out Kwang Kyo San is similar in appearance to any mountain anywhere Korea, but it has a nice walking trail that runs through it. The slope never gets to steep and it's easy to traverse and pleasant. The mountain fairly popular but not overly crowded.

It didn't look like much at first especially. We had no idea that the trail would be so long. When we first started to go up, we realized we may need some water. Julie stopped an old man and asked if we could get water in the mountain. "Nae, mul ichi," he replied and walked off. He didn't bother to mention the water was 3 kilometers up the trail!

Anyway it was really nice to get away from society a bit and we had a great time. Here are a few pics:

Within minutes you're on the trail and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Almost immediately I could smell wood and flowers in the air rather than diesal fuel and/or sewage. A welcome change. They did a nice job with the trail as well.

An ajumma wearing decorative socks scuttles past us. Sure it's a great source of exercise, but isn't the point of hiking also to relax and enjoy the surroundings? So many older people treated it almost as a race. Don't they hurry around enough in their daily lives? Even worse was seeing people a little further up chatting on handphones.

Wow, flowers, trees, water? Where am I? No concrete and metal, garbage, highrise apartments or PC bangs to see for awhile. I remarked later though, McDonald's could make a killing with a restaurant halfway up.

The weather couldn't have been any better. We were worried it would be too crowded. While there were many people, it wasn't that bad. Sometimes we'd come across groups like this.

Other times we wouldn't see anyone around. During these junctures, I'd take the chance to plant a kiss on my lucky baby's cheek. Wow, what a romantic hero.

A sea of apartments in the distance. I wonder if they are visible from the moon...

Further up, less noise from the highways, almost quiet. I feel like I'm back in America in the country side near my hometown. I wonder what it would be like to have lived in a time when the whole world looked like this. In fact, walking through nature brings you in touch with past centuries. I could almost envision Confucian scholars walking the trail.

More scenery. It's nice that the leaves haven't grown back yet and you can see in the distance, yet I'd like to come back later in the season too. Another reason I'd like to come back, I forgot to take pictures of a couple of things: a few dug out holes lined with stacked tires to serve as bunkers in the event of another war. Also, we were so happy to finally reach the water tap I didn't think to take a photo there. We drank and drank the cold spring water for several minutes before sitting down to enjoy some kimbap and a few donuts. Suddenly a gigantic mosquito landed right on Julie's jelly donut and stuck to the jelly. Julie screamed so loud everyone stared at us. I can't blame her really, that was one huge mogie!

However, I should point out that she gets scared rather easily. Earlier in the day she cut her finger in the bathroom and flipped out in a panic. She thought she should go to the hospital. She swooned, she grew nauseous. I looked at her finger. The cut very small and there was hardly any blood. It took awhile to calm her down long enough to apply a small bandaid...

Well, that's most of the pics I took. I found out later if we kept going we would have gotten to the bottom where there are a lot of traditional noodle restaurants and a bus station. Instead, we turned back the way we came and eventually had spaghetti at a Sorrentos across town. First we stopped at Buy the Way. To my surprise the convenient store carries a decent collection of wines under 30,000 won. We picked up a bottle of California Red and drank it with our dinner. (Actually Julie drank about a teaspoon and I drank the rest.)

If you'd like a nice relaxing climb and have nothing to do on a weeked you may want to try Kwang Kyo San and make a day of it. It's easy to find being located right next to Kyungi University. You can take bus #32 across the street from Suwon Station. Many other busses go there as well.


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