Thursday, May 17, 2012

Almost Winter: Frozen In Nami Island

Sometimes, even with all the planning and preparations, luck is not on our side. The weather was perfect for the first two days during our stay in Korea. The weather was unbearably hot in Manila and Seoul’s cold weather was a cool break from the heat and sweat. But day 3 greeted us with a damp ground. Cold and wet. Rain. Bad timing. Day 3 was Nami Island day.
The weather forecast revealed there would be some rainy days ahead. We already had the DMZ tour booked the next day so we can’t really defer our trip to the ever famous Nami Island. This is my ultimate target destination in this trip. I want more scenes of spring, I want more cherry blossoms.
Walking from the hostel to the Myeongdong station was torture. It was raining a bit, kinda dampening my spirit for that day. The subway offered warmth from the cold weather. I was wearing a layer of leggings and another layer of stockings.

There are two ways of getting to Nami Island 1) Take a shuttle going to the Island or 2) Take the trains then take a cab. The shuttle had fixed schedules so we opted to commute so time will be in our hands.  

Finding our way in Korail

We took the subway then rode Korail. The Korail train ride took one hour. In the trains, there's a place for the elderly/disabled (red seats in this train). Don't take those seats unless you fall in that category.I feel asleep again. I was having a lot of masandal-tulog moments during commute in Korea. I woke up intermittently to view the provincial landscape.

Notice the hanging handrails? They have differ in length. What a considerate design.

Upon our arrival in Gapyeong Station, we hailed a cab to take up directly to the wharf where a ferry will take us to Nami Island. The cab tab cost was ₩ 3,500.

Nice station. Like an airport.
The entrance fee going to Nami Island is ₩ 8,000 inclusive of a round trip ferry ride. There were these “Naminara Republic” signs. The island is being promoted as a separate independent kingdom/republic. Well, they really didn’t stamp our passports, so we were still in a country called South Korea.

Flags and umbrellas

I guess April is the peak season for tourists. Despite the awful weather, the slow-moving ferry was packed. Lots of tourists want to see the beauty of Nami. The island was popularized by a Koreanovela in the mid-2000s: Endless Love.
Lotsa tourist in the ferry

The cold air greeted us as we got off the ferry. Brrrrrrr. It was a challenge to read the map, navigate the paths and take a picture. Taking pictures was quite a task. I had to protect my camera from getting wet. Smiling while freezing was a tiring. Water seeped through my boots and my stockings, my feet was wet in less than 30 minutes. 

Smile. Shiver. Smile. Shiver. With the purple camera case.

We navigated our way through the trees, but the mud and the rain slowed us. 

The rain intensified the colors of the trees.
We decided to find some warm place where we can eat and dry ourselves for a bit. We found a ramen restaurant. Perfect. I ordered a bowl of piping hot ramen for ₩ 5,000. There were a lot of other restaurants in the island but as expected, some prices were just not very budget-friendly.

Got the spicy Teppanyaki for 2,000. Not a fan of spicy food, but it fits the weather.

The rain didn't stop while we were eating. Unforgiving. 
There was ginko tee lane which was very popular in the island. Made our way through the muddy path and found those towering trees. The rain does not diminish the magnificence of these trees.

The rain made the tree bark and branches turn to black. It contrasts nicely against the color of the cherry blossoms.

Black and pink

Some souvenir shots of a non-Koreanovela fan.


After taking loads of pics (or as many as we can despite the rain), we decided to call it a day and head back. The chilly weather is permeating through my wet feet and I’ve been consistently wiggling my toes to assure myself I still have them.

I vow to go back. Hope it doesn't rain then.
Nami Island, I shall return.  

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