Last month, Steve’s parents came to visit him in Jeonju. The only offspring of two devoted parents, I love that he was as happy to see them as they to see him.
If you have friends or family visiting Jeonju chances are, unless you can pick them up at the airport, they will take the limousine bus from Incheon Airport to the Jeonju Core Hotel. Finding the ticketing booth for the bus is easy (there is almost always a friendly English-speaking person at the information booths inside ICN that will direct you). Purchasing tickets to your destination can be a bit more difficult. For starters, once you exit the airport the chances that the people you encounter will speak English decrease. Secondly, for those who lack a solid command of the Korean language Jeonju sounds kind of sounds like Cheonju (a different city in a completely different part of Korea). To clear up any confusion while purchasing the tickets, Steve’s mum added that it was Jeonju in Jeollabuk-do (전주 전라북도). Very K-town travel savvy Cris 🙂
After safely arriving in Jeonju, Cris and Mike checked into the Jeonju Rivara Hotel. While a stay at the Riviara is a bit pricey and less spacious than a stay at a love motel, it does lessen the chances of running into men bring back call girls for the evening. Their view facing Hanoak Village is also one of the nicer in Jeonju.
Photo courtesy of Cris O'Hara
I met the family and their adopted Korean child (hehee, our dear well-traveled friend TK) for brunch the next morning at an amazing cafe in Ajungly called Gisto.
Tk, Mike, and what used to be brunch
After brunch we went to the Intercity Bus Terminal to catch a bus to Jinan. Our final destination, the motor-less splendor of Maisan. At Jinan we were supposed to transfer to a local bus that would take us to the base of the mountain but we missed it by minutes and to avoid waiting another hour the 5 of us squished into a taxi and headed for the base of the mountain.
The Korean and English Buddhas
Maisan, or Mt. Mai, Korea's mini Machu Picchu
On our way up Horse Ear Mountain
Monday morning I was lucky enough to have the day off of school because my students were busy taking their mid-terms. What good timing! I met Mike and Cris at the Rivara and we walked downtown to have brunch at another favorite spot of mine, Namu Rado (Namu means “tree” and “a lot” I’m not sure which it is). It was also the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) and downtown was buzzing with film watchers and makers.
Cris and Mike arrived at the start of JIFF
We walked from Gaeska and past the remaining old gate to Hanoak Village. A Hanoak is an old style Korean home.
A tiny Mike and Cris in from of Jeonju Gaeska
The old gate, which as been rebuilt, so maybe the new old gate
Getting some official history from an English-speaking tour guide
Two English pandas in Korea
On Thursday I tried to take everyone to one of the JIFF Children’s Day films, but the movie I chose went from having no Korean subtitles to no English subtitles. We spent some time on Steve’s roof and then went to dinner with TK and Big Nate.
A game of cards at Deepinto brought the evening to a close
On Friday, after a great time in Jeonju, Steve’s parents went east to check out the seaside town of Busan. We followed suit and found they had booked us an amazing ocean view room at the Novotel Ambassador Hotel on Haeundae Beach. It was a truly beautiful view! While the weather was more miss than hit due to a super fog, I slept on the western sized bed better than I have in ages.
View from our room in Busan
Another little treat of staying in the super room was getting breakfast and happy hour treats in the lounge. We weathered the weather playing cards, going for a sing, visiting the aquarium, and playing a great game of screen golf.
Noraebang Rooms-a popular Korean pass time, you sing Karaoke with just your friends (or in this case family) in a private room
Smiling with a giant stingray
My favorite fish lacked a name tag, this guy sure looked human to me
Time flew and there were a lot of emotional hugs on Buddah’s Birthday when we had to pack up and go home.
See you soon Cris and Mike!
I’d like to give photo credit to Cris O’Hara for many in this post as I FORGOT my camera!