All over the past week we sat around watching the weather say there would be snow the next day, and of course snow never came. Even Christmas day wasn’t snowed out, as I had half hoped; it would have given me a good excuse to do nothing but sit at home in my pyjammas drinking wine, but no such luck.
We drove out to Gangneung where herself hails from, which is my favourite place in Korea. All the way through the mountains it was noticably snowless. When we got to Jumunjin, despite the wind, it was clear skies and comparably to a summer’s day. If it wasn’t for my big coat and hat, you wouldn’t have known better.
Yeongjin in Jumunjin, Gangwon-do - Dec 26, 2010
Yeongjin Beach, Gangwon-do - December 26, 2010
Your humble narrator at the beach - December 26, 2010
Now there are many who might call me mad, but I really like going to the beach in the middle of the winter, or even in the middle of a storm. Most of our impressions on the coast are built around summer holidays and the likes, but I love to go down and experience it during, what can be called, the close season. During the summer we sat on this beach about fifty metres away from where we took this picture; I got sunburnt and then a few days after we sat three yards from where the waves broke and ate some barbecued pork according to the local fashion. This is the sunset we indulged in with the grub:
Apocalypse or sunset?
Then about two months later we came down and I insisted on walking up to the beach in my shorts and raincoat in the middle of a full-blown storm. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera for whatever reason, but I did have my old phone:
The waves come in hard and fast - Yeongjin Beach
This morning we woke up and got ready to come back to Suwon, and there was a very light covering of snow that was melting rapidly in the morning sun. By the time we pulled out onto the main road it was all but gone along the coastline. The more we drove along the expressway though, the snow had fallen heavier and as we made our way into the mountains the trees were all covered in a think coat of white, creating a static like mountainside to our right with the contrasting bright blue of the sky and ocean to our left. We thought at about two or threee times that it was going to snow but we were never saw a single flake, and when we passed through to the other side of the mountains and started to descend the snow’s cover seemed to be not as heavy. At Munmak everything changed; the usually all-brown in winter landscape was sheated in white as far as I could see, the mist ubstructing the vast majority of my view’s distance.
When you’re driving along Expressway 50 from Gangeung to Seoul, Munmak is the last major town before you cross into Gyeonggi-do from Gangwon-do at the Seomgang bridge (Seom-gang or Seom River…what river? Seom River! But which one etc.). Gangwon-do is Korea’s skiing province where the best and most famous resorts are located, notably Phoenix Park and Pyeongchang, which is bidding for the Winter Olympics in 2018. It’s also the most mountainous of the provinces, or at least the province most reknowned for mountains, and it’s often that the snow has stopped on our way home from the east coast as we’ve left Gangwon-do. Today, was the opposite.
No sooner had we cleared the Seom-gang bridge than the snow started to come in at a nice angle, pretty much perpindicular to the road itself, so we took a deep breath and drove on. The closer we got to Seoul the heavier it got. It wasn’t until the turn to Everland that things got complicated; the traffic volumes increased and the majority of the trucks and larger vehicles took the side lane which for some reason got priority from the snow ploughs and then cut into the main lanes of oncoming traffic. But by then the snow had stopped and the sun had come out.
Before this it got pretty fuzzy though, and the traffic slowed right down. At one stage we were doing a mere 3o kilometres an hour, and doing our best to try to stay on the same track as everyone else:
Yeongdong Expressway (#50) - December 28, 2010
Fortunately things weren’t too bad and after Everland we managed to pick up the pace and we were home about thirty minutes after that.While I haven’t complained online too much about the loaction and future prospects of our little neighbourhodd here in Yeongdeok (definitely not as much as I do face-to-face with people), one thing I’d like to say is that it is certainly not the place that Yongin City invests a lot of money in, espeically in terms of cleaning up. It had snowed last night, and together with today’s falling, the snow lay heavily all down the streets and on the vacant patches in front of our building. Instead of carrying in our stuff, as I should have done, I gave my new christmas present, a pair of leather CAT boots, a good try out walking through the snow as I readily clicked away with some fancy new photo app on my iphone (I’ve a feeling you’ll be hearing a lot about my iphone in the future – the only consolation I offer is that I hope to share more and more photos on a regular basis). Here are the results:
Now, I’m indoors with herself enjoying a nice hot cup of tea and some wonderful homemade cookies!
P.S. We’re going to Japan on Friday.
P.P.S. Still haven’t gotten any Christmas presents from home, until then, my epic ‘Christmas in Korea’ email remains under wraps!