Sunday 14 April, 2019
Day 7 / Samcheok to Gyeongpo
[Missed Day 6? Read the previous post here]
The ride today is mostly flat apart from a few really steep climbs which you can see in our ride profile at the bottom of this post.
Most of the roads are back along the coast which is a nice change to yesterday’s mountains.
Along the way we cycle along wooden bridges while weaving around an endless number of hikers.
We’ve noticed that hiking fashion is big business in South Korea!
Our first stamp stop is Chuam Chotdaebawi, which is a quick 6km down the road from our motel.
The signage along the way has been saying 7-10% gradient but we’ve learnt to take these with a grain of salt as they are generally closer to 12-17%. There are lots of downhills as well which makes for some good GoPro footage.
We head inland a little and spot a camping ground.
It’s pretty empty at the moment but I can imagine the place packed out in the warmer seasons.
Our next stamp stop is Mangsang Beach at around the 23km mark.
Along the way we see some more Railbikes like yesterday. The cost is 20,000 won for 2 people or 30,000 won for 3-4 people.
It would be fun to have a go but we’re already doing enough cycling of our own!
At around lunchtime, and about 38km in, we find our the next stamp stop, Jeongdongjin.
I spot a shop selling Kimbap and want to stop in for lunch but they are closed 😦 However across the road we find Sun Cafe so we head there instead.
It’s a really nice cafe with an upstairs balcony area where the sun peaks in. It’s warm and cosy upstairs and all I want to do is curl up in a ball and fall asleep.
They don’t really have any food offerings so we order some hot drinks.
We continue along the coast and spot some interesting sights…
A giant ship…
A playground with a smaller sea vessel…
A small army building surrounded by barbed wire…
Giant humans holding giant crabs…
Eventually the road is blocked off by a rope despite being in perfect condition…
And we’re not quite sure what to do…
So we go under the ropes and continue on for as long as we can, which isn’t very far…
The path literally just stops! Looks like it hasn’t been finished so we decide to carry our bikes across to the main highway and brave the traffic.
The last 20kms is tough with crazy winds and it gets a little scary with cars and crosswinds. At one stage we have to cycle through two farm paddocks – completely exposed to the winds and it’s insane!
The final stamp stop of the day is right near our motel but we have a bit of trouble finding it. We end up having to back track a few kms before realising we had made a wrong turn. Once we track it down though everything is a breeze. But going back over our GoPro videos, there’s a lot of footage of us arguing about whether we are going the right way or if either of us know where we are.
Next to the stamp booth is a stand allowing locals to send postcards of the local town to anywhere in South Korea for free. There are a few locals writing to their loved ones. A bit further down on the beach we spot a big earth tree and pop over for a closer look.
We find our accommodation for the night – a cheap and cheerful beachside motel called New Hosujang. There’s nowhere to lock the bikes up so we lug them up two flights of stairs and pop them on our balcony.
When it’s time for dinner, we decide to go for a 20 minute walk in the freezing cold to search for a restaurant we find on Happy Cow. However we arrive to find it’s closed and I nearly start crying because I’m so cold and hungry. What is it with vegetarian places being closed whenever we visit?
As we walk back the wind really starts to pick up and it also starts to rain. We’re not quite sure what to do as every other restaurant we’ve passed near our motel is a seafood place selling king crab. We’re about to give up and head into a convenience store when we see an empty restaurant with the owners watching TV.
We decide to try our luck and ask if they can make something vegetarian. When the man opens the door he asks if we want to see an English menu, so we pop in for a look.
We tell him that we don’t eat meat or seafood and if he has any recommendations. He discusses with his wife and she suggests vegetable fried rice and pajeon (spring onion pancake). We get excited as we had almost prepared ourselves for an evening of instant noodles from the 7-11. As we wait we notice the walls and ceilings have been signed by locals and visitors.
The food comes out quickly and we’re so hungry that we pretty much inhale the entire meal. It’s probably the best pajeon I’ve ever had, and only partly because I’m starving.
I have so much trouble trying to pick anything up with the chopsticks because my hands are so cold and end up making a mess, but it’s almost like a race between the two of us to see who will eat and who will starve.
We finish everything so quickly that the owners are probably thinking we haven’t eaten in weeks. We pay and head off feeling bloated and happy (and slightly disgusted with ourselves).
NOTE: If you’re staying around this area (especially along the beach front) you might hear fireworks being set off in the late hours while you’re sleeping. We noticed fireworks being sold at all the convenience stores nearby!