South Korea in Retrospect

I spent slightly more than a month in South Korea.

After the arrival from Japan via ferry in the south-east (Busan) I headed straight west. Due to two main factors, namely being alone again after half a year of company and relatively boring cycle paths, roads and landscape in general, I found myself in a pretty low mood during the first days of cycling. Nothing really exciting happened. However, a trip to South Koreas number-one holiday destination, Jeju island, helped to overcome the initially negative mindset and I finally enjoyed Jeju island and the subsequent way up to Seoul where I finally spent the last entire two weeks.

Although Korea is an incredibly mountainous country – there wasn’t a single day without being surrounded by mountains – the scenery is mainly dominated by unexciting undulating green hills and rice paddies in the valleys. The ugly cities, essentially groups of identical skyscrapers popping up like mushrooms here and there, make the whole thing even less appealing. Charming villages are almost non-existent and supposedly about 80% of the South Koreans live in skyscrapers.

Nevertheless, I of course didn’t regret spending a month in Korea! Like Japan, it is an exceptionally safe country with a interesting highly homogeneous culture to experience, with many nice people (except the inconsiderate car drivers in cities) and still plenty of things to see. Rocky national parks, charming temples and other sights, the stable food bibimbap, the encounters in particular with the younger generation of Koreans, the trip to the border to North Korea, Jeju island, bustling Seoul etc. are memories I would not like to be without.

And last but not least the usual summary of how I spent the nights: due to the desire to connect with people, the two weeks in Seoul, and the heat, I chose to sleep merely 9 nights in the tent wild-camping. The rest of the nights I stayed in hostels (24) except one night at the place of a lovely warmshowers-couple in Daegu.

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