Public Exercise Equipment

One very common thing that I have noticed in Korea are the mini gyms that are located along walking paths.  Koreans seem to be very concerned with their physical condition; walking paths and these mini gyms are pretty common. Jochiwon Cherry Blossoms-162Most of these mini gyms that I have seen are simply aerobic workouts, but I think that it is very nice to be available to the public.  From what I have seen, the usual visitors are older men and women.

Jochiwon Cherry Blossoms-161I’ve never actually used the equipment, but I do love the walking paths that are so common in Korea.  Often, like this one, they are located along streams.  As I have mentioned earlier, many Koreans also enjoy hiking in the mountains.  Many paths are available for those enthusiasts as well.

Hiking in Korea: Obongsan (오봉산)

A very popular activity among Koreans is hiking; many Koreans love hiking!  And why not?  Korea has some beautiful mountains and natural sites. Because I too enjoy exercise and nature, I decided to take a hike at Obongsan (오봉산).   Obongsan-156

Obongsan means “five peak mountain”, and it is located just outside my city.

Obongsan-160I think it was only a few kilometers of hiking, but it was a very enjoyable afternoon.  This was on a nice day in January or February, so it was still a bit brisk.  The hiking really keeps you warm though!

Obongsan-157Parts of the paths are riddled with trees and roots, though these are actually very helpful when it is muddy and slippery.  It also gives a more nature-integrated feeling than simply being on a clean cut mountain path.

Obongsan-155There are several of these short pebble paths that are intended to be walked on bare foot.  I didn’t try, but I imagine it gives a very relaxing massage effect (sans pine needles).

Obongsan-161The pine needles were very helpful as well in the muddy weather; they also give the sense that the mountain is covered in a rough brown carpet.

Obongsan-163As I said, it was very muddy because of the ice and snow melting towards the end of Winter.  Some parts of the path had to be avoided entirely.  By the way, Korea has a red mud that is very naturally beautiful when you aren’t sinking in it.

Obongsan-162Mountain carpet of pine needles.

Obongsan-164Finally at the top of Obongsan.  It wasn’t a tough climb really, but it was very nice to relax and get a bit of exercise in nature. The only way it could have been better was with a little less mud.

Kalguksu (칼국수)

As I have mentioned, this winter I went to Gyeongju for the second time.  I had planned to take one whole day to hike around Namsan, a mountain south of Gyeongju.  Namsan is a great place, but I will write about it exclusively in another post. As I arrived at the beginning of the path I found myself hungry; I decided to try a nearby Kalguksu (칼국수) restaurant.kalguksu-147

Kalguksu (칼국수) is a special type of noodle; it is a freshly made soft noodle.  The name literally means “knife noodles”.  This type of Kalguksu was different than any I had tried before; the broth was nutty and thick rather than thin.  This is because it was a very special broth made from many different grains.  The server said that it was very healthy, and that it would be good for hiking.  Another interesting thing was that some of the noodles were made from cactus.  Cactus is not common in Korean noodles, but it was a tasty dish that gave plenty of energy for hiking!

Boryeong Mud Festival

New Korean mini lessons will have to wait; today I have pictures from Boryeong.  The Boryeong mud festival is a modern tradition at Daecheon beach.  This festival celebrates a special type of mud that is supposed to be excellent for your skin and body. The festival has all sorts of mud activities and most visitors get covered in it.

I, however, was not really in the mood to be covered in mud.  I am usually interested in trying new things, but this day was different.  I walked around the festival with my friend, but we got bored quickly (since we were not participating in the mud events).  We decided to take a walk on the beach and explore.

boryeong-147We arrived in the late morning to a foggy beach.  It was a bit brisk, so we decided to take a walk around.

boryeong-148I know it sounds silly to go to a beach and not intend on getting wet, but I did have my camera to think about.  Actually I came to the festival mainly to take pictures.

boryeong-149I found an interesting spider.  I think that the spiders in Korea are like seasonal fruit; each month there is a different type of spider crawling around the place.

boryeong-150We played some carnival style games.

boryeong-151But after about an hour or two we were a little bored with the festival so our rocky expedition began.

boryeong-152We really had no intention of traversing the rocks, but as we climbed the first one, the next one was too enticing to stop the adventure.

boryeong-153One of my favorite outdoor activities is rock hiking.  It is not exactly climbing rocks, but it is also a little bit more than hiking.  Here is my friend at the top of one of the rocks.

boryeong-154From this rock we said good bye to Daecheon beach for a little while.

boryeong-155And we continued on along the rocks.

boryeong-156We quickly discovered that this was far more exciting and interesting than the festival.

boryeong-157This gigantic titan of a boulder was interesting because it did not match the stone from the cliff.  I’ve no idea how this got here.



Gigantic! Naturally I decided to climb up the rock; it is very difficult for me to pass up the chance to climb.

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Though it felt like miles, we actually only hiked around the small peninsula on the bottom left.  The beach on the left is where the expedition began, and we finished by walking the streets back to town.boryeong-159Here is another of the green spiders.  We found this as we were on our way back to Daecheon beach.

Though we found ourselves a little bit bored with the festival (which would have been more exciting to participate in), we certainly had a great time!