dirty weekend in chungju

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6271732155/” title=”HIP_340965286.158787 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6042/6271732155_2b6734db36.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HIP_340965286.158787″></a>

It was J-e’s birthday last week, and so, seemed like a good enough reason to go away for the weekend. The main idea was to catch the ferry across the Chungju lake, see the autumn foliage and stay in Danyang, a small town on the other side. We took the bus to Chungju. There’s not too much to say about Chungju. If there is something to be said, someone else can say it.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6272251648/” title=”Chungju bus terminal tourist information office by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6237/6272251648_2e775a6687_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”240″ alt=”Chungju bus terminal tourist information office”></a>

The tourist information office was unfortunately closed when we needed it the most, around the middle of the day. We had a quick lunch while waiting, returned to find it open this time and got the information we needed, which was: which bus to get to get to the Chungju ferry terminal. While there, J-e helped a German couple who were after similar information, since she could speak both korean and english, and it seemed that the tourist info person could not.

The local bus wound its way through the Chungju industrial estate and as it turned out, this was the part of the town we spent quite a bit of time in due to taking that bus ride 3 times. We got off at the wrong place (a little too soon). The ferry terminal is at the end of the line, and we got off at the Chungju dam wall. We probably could’ve walked the rest of the way but we’d already been pushing to make the last ferry.

There were a couple of nice areas around the dam. We sat and decided what to do. Staying in Chungju and leaving early the next morning seemed like the best idea.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6272257672/” title=”HIP_340956066.701928 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6226/6272257672_e24ce1fa25.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HIP_340956066.701928″></a>

I would say that over the last 7 years my tolerance (as in attitude) of cigarette smoke has dropped almost zero. I must confess that I was planning on murdering my upstairs neighbour in the near future for this reason, connected to the fact that the apartments are very much connected via the kitchen exhaust fans. I found a very neat way to completely cap off the fan pipe and uncork it when I need to use it for cooking, thus avoiding messy homicide inquiries.

If there was one message I could send to the Korean accommodation sector, it would be to start offering non-smoking rooms. It’s difficult to find a hotel room in Chungju (or most cities) that doesn’t reek of smoke or (at the low end of the scale) have a subtle inbuilt presence of nicotine. Even the newest places have it. We found a place that wasn’t too bad but when walking out the next morning I still felt like I’d smoked a pack.

The ferry trip and surrounding environs are a big hit with the middle-aged hiking and hiking-clothing wearing crowds, especially at this time of year. Around the far side of the lake we bumped into the German couple again. They were having trouble figuring the bus timetable. They’d caught the train from Chungju to Danyang and stayed there the night. In hindsight that seemed like a better plan because once we got to Danyang it was easily a nicer looking place than Chungju, being situated along a large river. We were there only a few hours for lunch and then a 3.5hr bus trip around the lake and back to cheongju.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6275040125/” title=”IMG_0717 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6112/6275040125_2fcb92aeaa.jpg” width=”500″ height=”374″ alt=”IMG_0717″></a><em>best view out of a bus terminal I’ve seen anywhere in korea.</em>