A Spring Flower Festival

A Spring Flower Festival

Things have been pretty quiet since Grace and Rich have left, but now that the weather has finally started to warm up, we're beginning to be more productive and adventurous. I've continued Zumba classes for the month of April and Luke has had a couple more drone test flights. We discovered a really cool river right behind our apartment that flows right next to a path for running or biking. It is quite serene and I will definitely be using that for my runs when I start back up. As I said, the weather has started warming back up (finally). But with that, comes "Yellow Dust" season here in Korea. This means that the pollution and all of its lovely dust particles are making their way over here from China and Mongolia. This blogger explains more about it and one of the reasons why many people here wear face masks when they go outside. Lately, it's been pretty bad. We wake up with dry, sore throats and even our skin feels extra dry. I did more research to get a better understanding and now have an app on my phone to tell me what AQI Level it is for the day. I joined the face mask club on Saturday when we went to the Goryeosan Azalea Festival!

 The "Yellow Dust" and air quality has been super awful so for the sake of my lungs, I opted for the face mask as many others in the country do.

The "Yellow Dust" and air quality has been super awful so for the sake of my lungs, I opted for the face mask as many others in the country do.

Goryeosan Azalea Festival

The most recent exciting excursion we've embarked on was about a 3 hour travel to Gangwha-gun. It's northwest of us and juuuuust south of the border :) . We went to the Goryeosan Azalea Festival that consists of a small hike, some festive colored lanterns, and a number of tents serving pajeons, makgeolli and more. The neat thing about this festival was that there were almost zero foreigners. Often times, festivals are what attracts both Koreans and Waygooks (foreigners) but this one was a bit of a tough one to navigate to. You can check out another post of mine here with more directions and detailed information.

Once we arrived, we immediately started the hike to the hike - this is how all hikes here begin. Fortunately, it was in a cute little town that reminded me a little of our old town in Changnyeong-gun way down south. There were so many fields and farm areas, small houses and cute murals along the walls. We even saw a ton of dairy cows! We walked alongside a military zone where pictures were prohibited, but people picnicked right next to the fence! The hike had a few very intense inclines although they weren't very long so it wasn't too bad. As always though, when we got to the top, it was worth it. The mountainside was blanketed in purple azaleas and the observation decks were crammed with people posing for pictures. Compared to the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival that we went to last year though, this was nothing. There were multiple decks along the summit but we found a secluded area with a view where we rested with some water and tteok - Korean rice cakes with steamed flour, filled with red bean paste. We could even see North Korea from there!

About halfway back down, we stopped again at one of the food tents. It was so busy, people were vulturing the area looking for seating. We managed to snag two chairs and a hot spot in the sun but the makgeolli and pajeon were absolutely delicious. I have a feeling I will always be craving these things after a hike...and I'm not sure how I'll survive without them back in the States.

It was a long day and we were exhausted, but it was so much fun and I was desperately craving an adventure like that. I can't wait for more!

Tteok - Korean Rice Cake dessert

 Makgeolli and Pajeon! Hiking food of champions!

Makgeolli and Pajeon! Hiking food of champions!

Streams and Streets

Streams and Streets

How to: Goryeosan Azalea Festival

How to: Goryeosan Azalea Festival