The trip to Chuncheon was good and relaxing. I went to visit a woman I'd met in Kenya who is teaching there with her fiancé. On Friday night I headed into Seoul to meet up with the peeps I was traveling with. We decided to have beer and chicken because 'twas the last non-fasting Friday for a while. In theory we were supposed to find a sauna and crash, but ignorantly wandering around Changnangni Station just resulted in discovering where all the Seoul prostitutes had been hiding. So we mosied over to Korea University to find something there. No luck. A taxi rescued us and by 2:30 we'd found a well-priced but rather distant sauna.
We caught the train at 6:15 and slept the whole way there. Out contacts there made us pancakes, which was an unexpected treat. Thence we walked through town to the ferry to Jung Island. Along the way we found an Ethiopian café (lacking, unfortunately Ethiopian food, arguably the best on Earth) near a monument to Ethiopian soldiers who fought in the Korean War. At the ferry quay there was much amusing Winter Sonata paraphenalia.
Jung-Do was only moderately interesting, although it was nice to walk in a park. The dolmens there were the first I'd seen in Korea. (I'd already been informed by a magazine on the train to Busan that there are three theories as to their orgin - Northern, Southern, and Spontaneous Generation.)
Following that we indulged in that most delightful Chuncheon specialty, Dakgalbi.
That night we went out to a board game café, which is a most brilliant line of business. We played Settlers of Catan, which was a first for me. It was also discovered that Risk is had by some members of the FunnyFunny franchise, so perhaps such will be indulged in sometime when I don't care to sleep. Also a first was die guten und die boden Giester or something like that. (My German is really bad, I don't even know where to put the diacritics...)
Sunday found us at a rather short Presbyterian service. I've not been Protestant for a while now, but when I was I was rather low church Presbyterian (PCA); it was good to be reminded why I'm no long Protestant, but it was also a good chance to observe some of the vestiges of liturgy and iconodulia that withstood the erosion of time. Prominately placed was an altar with an icon of the Last supper; when the minister prayed over the donations of the congregation he did in fact turn his back to the people and address the Gospel. Most amusing, however, was how the clergy changed into slippers to walk around the podium area.
One tangible result of going to church was being lassoed by a friend to guide us around Chuncheon. We went for a beautiful winding drive through the mountains cascading into the river; it reminded me of the escarpment of the Rift Valley. Many trees were in bloom and spring leaves were verdant. Countryside is so luverly.
Included in the drive was a visit to Korea's only Animation Museum. While not especially fascinating, it was well done, with very few mis-translations (mostly due to a general lack of translation or even documentation) and lots of tangible exhibits. One was a screen before which one posed; a bright light flashes; and one's shadow is temporarily etched onto the surface. Much amusement came of it. Other interesting gadgets were zoetropes, thaumatropes, and phenkistascopes.
At the end of the city tour was the "House of Literature" or a house/monument for Kim Yu Jong, a Korean novelist of seemingly no small import. At least, so the place said. He did seem quite interesting, but only one of the teachers at school had heard of him. (I have some leads on translations, but it might take a while.)
Around 8:00 we headed back to Seoul. All in all, it was one of the more laid back trips I'd had. Photos are stationed on the right margin.