So this is actually a trip we took one of our first few weekends here before I had started my blog, but I wanted to include it since it was our first trip somewhere and we had so much fun!
Josh really wanted to go on a climbing trip and I decided to come with since the area would also be a place we could camp and such. He made some friends in the Korea climbing facebook group and we met up with them at the bus station in Wonju, which is about an hour and a half to two hours by bus from Yeongwol. From Wonju, Ganhyeon (간현) is about 20 minutes by car and since there were a few of us we opted for a taxi and split the fare. Taxis in Korea are pretty cheap too!
When we arrived at the gate to Ganhyeon, which ended up being a big, beautiful park with a creek running through, Josh and I prepared to pay the 2,000 won (about $2 or a little less) to camp. The person at the gate taking payment then told us it would be 20,000. We were pretty confused but through some translation from our friend (who has been here for quite a few years and speaks pretty good Korean) we found out that there was going to be a music festival complete with overnight camping in Ganhyeon that weekend. Awesome! We got our tickets and headed through the park to find a place to set up our tent in order to reserve our spot. The park was super busy. Ganhyeon is pretty big with hiking trails, camping, restaurants, eating and washing areas, a creek with a small beach, and a crag for climbing. There were Koreans everywhere setting up their own tents and enjoying meals together. Josh and I headed to where our friends recommended we camp to set up our tent and it ended up being right by the stage for the festival. We had no idea what the festival was going to be like but we were happy that we stumbled upon the chance to attend. Some pictures from the first day there:
After a day of climbing and hanging out we went back to our tent and music festival preparations were in full swing. Stage set up, food tents, and other campers (including a lot of motorcyclists?) were gathering in our camping area. With our tickets we got a wristband and found out (thanks to the very kind ticket taker that spoke English!) that the price of our tickets included some barbecue. We got some grilled meat and sat down to enjoy ourselves….before we knew it the man in charge of the food operations (or at least, this little food booth) was offering us beer, soju, and more meat. We gratefully accepted. As we were drinking, we noticed a lot of people eating some kind of soup that looked delicious, but we did not know if it was included with the “barbecue” in the ticket or if it was separate. When you live in a country where you don’t speak the language, trying to figure out such matters transforms from a small, menial task into a much bigger, daunting task. Eventually Josh went up and figured things out for us and we were served a huge bowl of soup to share. It was red (usually means spicy!) and had potatoes, onions, and some kind of…meat..? To this day we have no idea what it was, but after learning some more Korean foods we both think it was pig/pork spine/bone soup (Gamjatang?). Regardless it was delicious!
After the food manager brought us a second bowl of soup, some other Koreans came over to talk to the foreigners (us). They brought food with them from their own stand for us to try, all of which was delicious. With their broken Korean they tried to have a conversation with us and soon invited us to their food stand and would not take no for an answer! When I motioned to them that I wanted to at least finish our soup (as not to be rude to the other guy) or clean it up I was told that they would “show me how it works in Korea” and that someone else would take care of it and I was not to worry. The two men brought us over to their stand and served us fruit salad with another soup that tasted very much like chicken vegetable or something along those lines. It was great. The two men ended up being brothers and the directors of the whole music festival. It made sense why they were so passionate about showing us a good time! Then the directors introduced us to the “vice president” of Wonju, but I really don’t think he is the vice president of Wonju. Most likely he has some government position but I think the phrase “vice president” was a result of poor translation. They eventually just left us to go about their business, but we didn’t mind because we were enjoying what seemed like VIP seating–a table and chairs right near one of two bonfires to keep warm with a great view of the stage. We finished our evening enjoying the music and people watching (which is extremely entertaining in Korea/a foreign country–just wait until I write a post about our Chuseok camping trip!) The festival was to feature indie music, and there was a very wide variety of indie music. Bands, rock, pop, and a cappella are just a few of the genres we heard. All of the artists were very talented.
Eventually we went to bed and rested up for the next morning. We hung out and Josh did some more climbing. We ended the day getting THAI FOOD!!!! with some of our new friends. Josh and I both have been so homesick for some Thai food. Of course there is plenty of Thai food in Korea but none in or very near our town. Here are some pictures from the last day climbing: