View from the top of Old Man of Coniston hike in Lake District National Park, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Preston, Lancashire, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Wyke, West Yorkshire, England on May 29th!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Time Travel to Seattle!

We were sitting in Seoul's Incheon airport yesterday afternoon, waiting for our flight to Seattle. About a hour before boarding, I got an email from our couchsurfing host in Seattle informing us that her sister and niece had been in a car accident and that she was not going to be able to host us.

So all of a sudden we were going to be arriving in Seattle, with nowhere to stay!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Last day in Korea

Sitting at Seoul's Incheon International airport, awaiting our flight to Seattle, USA.

We had a great last day in Seoul. We went and visited a palace, then an interactive museum, then dinner with friends...a fantastic way to end our first visit to Asia!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Busy hiking trail...but worth it!

The weather here in Seoul has become perfect for hiking, and so we decided to take advantage of it. High temperature of about 16C (62F), and with clear sky and sunshine. Perfect to hit the trails.

Seoul is a huge city, and Korea is a very mountainous country. Depending on what you read, there are about 37 different mountains that you can climb that are located in the greater Seoul area.

Which one did we decide to climb? Well, the tallest one of course!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Wandering around Seoul

We didn't have a plan today, so we just made things up as we went along.

Besides, part of traveling like we do means that we have to spend a certain amount of time on the internet researching our onward travel, so we did take some time this morning looking up some things regarding our upcoming travel day on Thursday when we fly back across the Pacific Ocean to Seattle, Washington.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Back in Seoul (part 2)

Sunday morning, we were up at about 8:30am. June's mom made breakfast, and what a meal it was! Not used to eating that much food at that hour, and some if it was a little different for us. There was squid, and seaweed soup. I found the soup a little strong tasting at that hour. And squid has a nice flavor, but it's a little rubbery. But the beef and rice was really tasty.

Good thing we had lots of food though, because after breakfast we went for a hike with June, and headed up the mountain behind where her parents live.

Back in Seoul

Yes, we are currently back in Seoul. But we had a busy weekend, and we really want to tell you all about both days, so...we'll get caught up on two posts during the next 24 hours!

So first, let's go back to Saturday morning.

We got up at 7:00am, because we had bought tickets on the 9:40am bus from Gyeongju to Gimcheon. A direct bus only leaves three times per day, so we had bought tickets a day ahead of time to make sure we had seats on that particular bus.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Overall, a good day. But a little disappointed...

We came to Gyeongju because there are three UNESCO rated heritage sites here.

The city itself is nice enough, but I'm not sure I'd plan a special trip here. Our preference would have been more time in the southern coastal area.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A look at our "love" hotel!

Late last night there was a knock on the door and it was our couchsurfing host Kim. Ruth had left her cheap reading glasses in the restaurant the night before, and Kim had made a special effort to go get them and bring them back to her!

Have we mentioned that Kim is a great guy?!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Great plans, but...

This time, things didn't come together.

We wanted to see the show at the world's largest water fountain. We had read that the Sunset Fountain of Dreams musical water fountain was really something to see, so after the morning rain cleared up a bit, we headed out on an excursion to Dadaepo Beach where the fountain is located.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers

It was forecast to be a rainy day here in Busan, but we figured we would make an effort to get outside anyhow. And, we had heard from another couchsurfer here who offered to get together with us and show us around, so we asked her if she wanted to join us. She said that she had a car and would meet us at a nearby subway stop at 10:00am.

It was almost 10:10am and I was about to give up when we heard a call from across the busy street.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Couchsurfing comes through for us again!

Just after I lamented in a recent post that I was a little frustrated with couchsurfering, one of the hosts came through for us in a big way!

But before we get to that, I need to update you on the last three days...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Our Beomeosa Templestay experience!

When we were discussing our current trip with Korea Tourism's Toronto office, they asked if we were interested in taking part in their Templestay program. We had heard about it, and thought that it would be an interesting experience to learn about Buddhism and experience a day in the life of a Buddhist monk.

They have quite a few different programs available, but when we read about one that has a "trekking" option, we had the pen in hand, ready to sign up!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Joined the Korean Navy!

What a beautiful day today. We just wandered the city of Yeosu, and what a lot of fun we came across!

Tom and Elicia had come up with a bit of a walking tour for us, and we figured we could do it in somewhere between two and four hours depending on how many little side trips we did along the way. But we found there is simply too much to see! What a beautiful city!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A temple with a view

We had stayed up late last night (past midnight!) with Tom and Elicia. Great conversation, and a few laughs too. They're a fun young couple with a fantastic future ahead of them. Anyhow, 8:00am came around pretty fast, and they still had to go to work. We were up pretty much just in time to say goodbye to them, but thankfully we didn't have to rush off anywhere.

We've been going pretty much nonstop since we arrived here just under two weeks ago, but of course we're only here for 28 days and we don't want to waste any of our time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A long travel day

I think we traveled about 250 kms (155 miles) as the crow flies and it took us 12 hours to do it! But everything happened according to plan, including a great evening with our new friends for the next three days!

It was an early start to the day. We were up at 5:30am!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Koreans have this right...

Our plans this morning depended on the weather.

If it was nice and sunny with a clear blue sky, we were going to be headed up to the top of Mount Hallasan. No visit to Jeju Island is complete without a hiking trip to the top of the highest peak in South Korea.

And if the mountain looked too cloudy, we would do a hike along the coast.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lava tubes and volcano craters

Last night as we went to bed, the wind was blowing like crazy! The windows were rattling, and with the forecast calling for the edge of the typhoon to brush against our area, we weren't sure what kind of sleep we were in for.

Next thing you know, we woke up and it was morning!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The typhoon has begun...

We left Jeju City this morning and headed down to the other major city on the island, Seogwipo. We had read that it wasn't that easy to figure out the intercity buses on the island, but we didn't find a problem. In fact, we thought it was relatively easy!

We took the number 780 bus. It stops at various points around Jeju City and we thought the stops were all well marked. The only problem we encountered was knowing where exactly to get off once we reached our destination, but the bus driver made sure to let us know. There is an automatic route callout system on the bus, and it does so in English as well as Korean, so that helps as well.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

On Garbage Detail

We had been communicating with a fellow named Jim who runs the Jeju Island Tourism facebook page. He asked if we wanted to join him on a volunteer trail hike whereby the volunteers pick up trash along the trail. They're having a trail festival here next month and they want this particular 18 km section to be as clean as can be so they're doing "clean-up" hikes four times this month in preparation for the festival.

We volunteered to join in!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Love it when a plan comes together - Jeju Island!

We had a plan, but a lot of things could have gone wrong. So we were totally happy that it came together the way we wanted it to.

The plan started with getting up this morning. At 5:30 in the morning!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It's always an adventure...

I'm telling you, I can't believe we managed to get on and off both the correct buses today. It's almost amazing.

You can't understand what's on most of the signs, and you can't ask anybody any questions. It's actually a very strange feeling. So when we went out to the bus stop and actually managed to get on the right feel like you hit the jackpot!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Riding the rails at 300 km/h (186 mph)!

Yesterday, I had been on the Korail website to check what time our train was going to leave. I had read that from Monday to Friday you can easily travel without a reservation. But it looked like it was really easy to book, and the website was all in English, so I went ahead and bought our tickets online.

I was given a reservation number, and the whole transaction proceeded seamlessly. We were booked on the 12:20pm train from Seoul's Yongsan Train station. Note...Seoul has two major train stations, so you need to make sure you know which one your train is leaving from!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fun day exploring Seoul, but not without it's hiccups!

We left the apartment at about 10:30am. A little later than planned, but still lots of time to see the things we wanted to see. But wow...this is such a huge city and we keep on coming across new things that make us realize that you could spend a month here and not see everything you want to.

This was our first day out exploring in Korea on our own! We went down to the subway and had no problem transferring and getting off at the correct stop near the Seoul Tower. Although, we did stop and pull out the subway map to have a look. Only took seconds and a local Korean was there to ask if we needed help. They're really good that way. If you look like a lost tourist, somebody will ask if you need help!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Views of Seoul from our Han River cycling tour!

This is a fun and inexpensive activity for anybody wanting to tour Seoul a little bit differently. And, you can get some exercise at the same time!

Koreans love cycling. So much that they have transformed much of the shoreline of the Han River that runs through the middle of the city into park space and wide, well marked bicycle paths. On a beautiful day, it's a great way to see the city. And it really gives you an idea of what a big city this is!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Dancers, acrobats, and tightropes

What a fun day we had!

We got an email this morning from our friend June, saying that she and her boyfriend Park would like to take us to the Korean Folk Village in Yongin, about a half hour south of Seoul.

"Sure", we said..."let's go"!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Korean Wedding

But because this was an international event, it was not a traditional wedding. The whole affair was done the way the bride and groom wanted it done and because she is Korean, and he is Canadian, they mixed things up a little bit! And good for them!

We were ready to go around 10:00am, and our friend June arrived to go with us.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Made it to Seoul, South Korea!

Wow. That was a long day.

But everything went without a hitch. The plane was only a few minutes late leaving, and it was a smooth eleven hour flight.

The time zone thing is different though!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Made it to Seattle!

Our flight from Calgary was an hour and a half late leaving because of a light bulb that wouldn't light! Some kind of a safety thing, so it's all good...but at least they didn't board us first. So we had an extra bit of time sitting around Calgary airport.

But some people had tight connections in Seattle and they weren't happy!

Made it to Calgary!

Liz came and picked us up right at 9:45am this morning in Cabri. She was heading into Swift Current anyhow and so we hitched a ride. We had a 45 minute drive to the Greyhound bus terminal, and then we waited for our 11:35am departure for Calgary.

The bus arrived and then the delays started.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What do we pack for a two month trip?

What a busy day we had yesterday getting ready to leave the park. I spent most of the morning helping the guy who comes in to blow out the waterlines. He has a huge diesel powered compressor that we hook up to the various lines and have to go around opening all of the valves until all of the water is out of them. Inevitably I'm still expecting there will be some freezing damage to repair in the spring, but you can only do the best you can do. Then in the afternoon I changed the oil in all of the vehicles and equipment so that it would be all fresh and ready to go next spring.

Meanwhile Ruth was cleaning up the house trailer, and sorting and storing things in there. Once we got everything done, it was time to pack!