Thursday, June 22, 2017

Meals on wheels: Jeju-Do, Korea, day two

Celebrating your birthday on Jeju, well, it could be worse, couldn't it? And since I couldn't decide on one piece of birthday cake for breakfast, I just went ahead and got two!

On the right you have a pretty good Tiramisu and on the left, a silky, yeasted chocolat bun with a center of soft ganache or as I would like to call it a dream come true. Needless to say this became my breakfast for all mornings on Jeju.
The location of the Café Delmondo, more in the ocean than on the shore, made things even better!

Since the weather was not perfect, we made plans to visit the tea museum of Jeju since I wanted to go there anyways and why not do that on the only cloudy day?

While the museum is rather small and the tea store rather big, it is definitely worth a visit because it is architectually very beautiful and you get to try different kinds of freshly brewed green tea.

Don't be deceived by the looks, this is pressed tea and not chocolate!

Of course I had to buy a jar of green tea milk spread, but I haven't opened it yet so no idea what it tastes like! The building below was where you could participate in tasting classes, but I guess you would need to speak Korean to do so. In any case, I'd actually love to move in there.

Adjacent to the tea museum was the Innisfree cosmetics store, apparently selling natural cosmetics made on Jeju, here coupled with a café that sells beautiful desserts, though we were not yet hungry enough to have some more sweets.

From the tea museum, we headed across the island to the South-Western shore where our guide book said the coast line would be very impressive. But before we marvelled over Jusangjeollidae, we were impressed by the citrus fruit sold right there. We later learned that they are called Hallabong and are the icon fruit of Jeju so to speak. We didn't have enough cash on us to buy some right there (they are quite expensive...), but later that day, we stopped at one of the many places where they are being sold right next to the street.

Now Jusangjeollidae. Jusangjeollidae is not just any kind of coast line, but one that really looks not quite like anything I had seen before. I'm no geologist, but from what I understood, the liquid lava from Mount Hallasan dropped into the ocean here with a certain kind of temperature and velocity so that it turned into polygonal rocks that look like they were cut out with a cookie cutter!

There is a nice walkway to enjoy different views of the stone formation which can be quite crowded though.
And there was one old lady selling snails which she cut up and many people seemed to enjoy them.

If you get the chance to visit the place, I would recommend to take a little walk to the left side of the parking lot, following one of the Jeju-Olle paths, as that gives you the chance to enjoy the scenery outside the crowds of tourists!

By now, I was getting hungry again and a birthday ain't no birthday if there is no cake in the afternoon, right? So next, we headed to Lazybox café, a really adorable café overlooking the ocean where I had a piece of carrot cake and some kick ass hallabong-ade, so so yummy!

Right above the café sits a huge Buddha statue and right below the café is another natural site of Jeju do. Apparently, you can walk along the water's edge to observe it but that particular day, it was closed because of bad weather, so unless we will go back there one fine day, we will never know what it looks like...

copyright of all photos j.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meals on wheels: Jeju-Do, Korea, day one

We arrived on Jeju-Do after what must have been history's shortest flight ever... I think it literally took 30 minutes to get there from Gwangju, making it the perfect weekend trip!

From the airport, we went straight to the car rental station where we picked up our small vehicle to take us around the island. A couple of words of wisdom on renting a car in Jeju: you need to have an international driver's license, which looks like what I imagine a GDR passport would look like. 
Driving around on Jeju-Do is really incredibly easy and chilled!
Now, the tricky part might be the navigation system considering that most of them won't accept destinations in latin letters. However, the solution are phone numbers! You just type in the phone number of the place you want to go to (check on leaflets or in your guide book), and the navigation system takes you there. So smart! Thinking about a start up to bring the idea to Dschörmani!
Anyway, we get our car and are on our way to the hotel, by now, it is dark, when all of a sudden, all cars going our way are flagged down by the police! I believe this was my first police control ever! They just quickly checked my breath for alcohol and when the machine declared that there was no hint of any, we were allowed to continue our journey!

Once we had settled into our hotel room in Hamdok-Ri, we went out to find a place for dinner which turned out to be somewhat tricky as it was already 10 pm and most restaurants had already closed the kitchen. But we did end up in a really lovely restaurant, right at the beach where seating was the Korean style, e.g on the floor. Poor other guests when he had to take off our smelly sneakers...
We ordered two bowles with raw fish, and when they started to load our table with masses of condiments including Sashimi, we were starting to get really scared as the Sashimi on the menue had a price tag of like 100 Euros and we were not sure whether we had accidently ordered that. Turns out, we hadn't. Those were just the normal condiments everyone got. What is not to love about Korea, and Jeju in particular?

copyright of all photos j.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Meals on Wheels: Gwangju, Korea, day four

After the summerish weather the day before, my last day in Gwangju was more on the colder, almost rainy side. Since I had plans to go to the museums in Gwangju, I didn't mind though. 

The Gwangju museum of Art was at the top of my list. To be honest, the exhibitions on display were not really the best, except for this absolutely outstanding mural, in which artist Hong Sung-dam combined his experiences of waterboarding torture during the uprise for democracy in Gwangju in 1980 with the tragic Sewol ferry accident. 

Next, I wanted to go go the Gwangju National museum, but by accident passed the Gwangju Folk Museum and decided to go there instead. I don't know what would have waited for me at the other museum, but it felt like a good decision to go to the folk museum as there were lots of food-related items on display! These marvelous woven lunch bags for instance, you just got to love them!

Not food related, but equally lovely were these glass pouches.  And then came at least 20 meters of plastic food behind glass, showing all the different dishes that are typical for the region of Gwangju. 

I wish all this was real and each museum visitor would get to try it all!

In case you ever wondered how the sheets of nori seaweed are made, well, at least traditionally, they were made just like paper. 
I learned all this and much more at the Folk museum and would encourage everyone to go there! It was very educational with lots of sligthly old-fashioned, but very lovely diorama (or dioramas?) and it taught me a lot about Korean culture!
For lunch I had another ricebowl, this time, after all the fish I had had the previous days and in anticipation of all the fish I would have the coming days, with fried chicken and mayo. My body no longer used to such a hearty and fatty meal, I spent the rest of the day napping and digesting on the couch before it was time to go to the airport to fly to ... Jeju!

copyright of all photos j.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Meals on wheels: Gwangju, Korea, day three

On my third day in Gwangju, I woke up to a beautiful early summer day (on a matress that even by my standards is way too hard. What's the point in having a matress if lying on it feels like sleeping on the floor?). Since I wanted to go hiking, I started the day with a hearty breakfast.

On the recommendation of my sister, I went to BonGousse where she ordered her custom burger, which is a personal twist on of one their many rice burger variants (as I understood it, it's the tuna burger minus the Spam and minus the red sauce... EDIT: according to my sister, I "got it all wrong." She said that "it's the spam burger without the spam and the only available option without red sauce!" just to get that straight since I don't want to be accuseed of spreading fake news!).

Don't be fooled by the burger shape - it is actually eaten with a spoon! It's savoury but also slightly sweet and was the perfect breakfast!

Then, I hopped on a bus that took me to the outskirts of Gwangju where several hiking trails start. Upon a flash of genius, I bought another bottle of water which turned out to be a good decision because the hike was basically a 2 hour uphill path... Needless to say I was completely exhausted when I got to the top of the mountain, but the view of Gwangju was worth it.

Koreans are avid hikers, they hike like pros, clad in colorful hiking gear. They might be fit enough to use the sports equipment that were right on the mountain peak. To me, they felt like an ironic statement regarding my poor physical shape... 

An amazing idea are these wells and brushes with which you can clean your shoes at the end of a long hiking day!

copyright of all photos j.