Sunday, April 19, 2009

Deokgu Spa World and Samcheok "rape" fest

It was a beautiful 62 degree day when we left early Saturday morning for our longest scooter ride yet. Last weekend was a grueling climb... This weekend was a relaxing stay at a spa resort up in the mountains. We headed down to Deokgu Spa World, a really fancy resort located in the middle of shapely mountains. Its normally about a 2 hour drive by car, it took us close to 4 hours on the scooter. The ride was breathtaking. The road changed from mountain scenery to seaside mountains once we crossed into a different province, Gyeongsangbuk. We had to stop a few times to consult the map, but other than that it was a pretty straight forward ride. We also stopped for some pictures.










Lanterns mean that there is a temple nearby. We checked this one out, but it wasn't any where near as impressive as the last one.











We took Route 7 for most of the journey. This is at 7, 7km. Chris loves the number 7 so we had to stop and take pictures in front of this sign.

I practiced reading Korean signs for most of the trip, I feel like I'm very close to being the 1st able to read Korean. I could usually pick out the first couple of syllables before the sign got passed up. There are still some letters that confuse me, and then there are the nuisances of pronunciation like when to use r or l, g or k, etc. Its not like everything would be much easier once I can read it, I still won't know what it means... but one step at a time.
We arrived at SpaWorld right during check in.



We asked for a Eastern style room (mats on the floor and low tables) but they gave us a Western room anyway. It was a nice room, we had 2 huge beds, a large "sunroom," fridge, bathtub, everything that a nice hotel would have back home. Because we went during the off season we got a discount too. After check in we went exploring the hotel. It was eerily empty, it reminded me of The Shinning a little bit. We got some snacks and drinks at the store, then sat around chatting and taking it in on picnic tables that over looked the nearby mountains. It smelled great there! All the pine trees and fresh mountain air.
After that we went back to the room and changed into our suits to hit up the hot springs. This part was a little difficult. Chris had somehow lost the free tickets we got, so we had to buy tickets. We also had to rent a swimming cap. Figuring out the cost and all that was a little rough, the only useful Korean I had for this was part was bee-ssan(expensive!) and olmaeyo(how much?) The men were suppose to go one way and women the other, we didn't want to split up and it took awhile to figure out how/if we could met up after the locker room. There was one lady who could speak a few words of English and eventually we got it out of her that you could meet outside after lots of miming and "odee's"(where?). So we went for it. Lots of nakedness in the separate sections. Both men and women have their own indoor naked only pools. We both skipped out on that option.
I hurried through nakedland and waited outside for Chris to show up. It took him awhile, but he figured it out and we checked out the pools.
The first pool was a colder one with a massage waterfall. It felt sooooooo good on my back, head, legs. Like getting a massage... but with water.

The next pool was a little warmer, we didn't spend much time in that one because it was sorta boring compared to the others.
The last two pools were green colored and very hot.



The first one was a lemon scented one with no bubbles. The other was jasmine scented with bubbles, this one was my favorite. It was really relaxing and made me feel great inside and out. After the outdoor pools, we went inside to check out the family area.


This area had 3 large pools. One was a kiddy pool with a waterslide, the other two were larger and had jazzuci jet areas all around the sides. The jets were lined up in different positions and each one was suppose to target a certain part of your body. There was one for arms, thighs, back, feet, etc.
After awhile we got out, changed, and met up outside the place. We jumped on the scooter to go explore the nearby town and beach.
Took a road up into the hills to see the view.

Then we got some drinks and hung out in a gazebo for awhile, then walked to the beach. At the beach we found an old bunker up on some rocks. We climbed up and sat around in there for a bit admiring the view.









Lunch/dinner was really really really good. One of my favorites so far (I know I say that every time!). We stumbled into an empty restaurant, kicked off our shoes and sat at a table on the floor. We just pointed to whatever and it ended up being delicious.



It was a pot of golden mushrooms, clear noodles, green stuff, and beef. We got some very delicious sides too. The best was a mushroom one, the first time I've seen this one. So good, she gave us 2 refills. I think the lady was really happy that we ate just about everything she put in front of us.

After dinner we headed back to the Spa for some soaking. There were also 3 different saunas there. An "elvan stone," "yellow clay," and "misty." My favorite was the yellow clay, it felt like home. Very hot in there, I think like 150 degrees.
"Phewwww so hot!"


We were the only foreigners here, a little awkward because people stare so much- especially at Chris because he is so tall. But nice because everywhere we went would empty out as soon as we showed up so we always had the pools and saunas all to ourselves. The spa closed ridiculously early, 8pm. So we headed back to the room and watched some BBC for a bit then had an early night. Woke up early and started the trek back.

On the way we home we saw festival tents and bright yellow flower fields, so we pulled over to check it out. It was in a town called Samcheok, they were celebrating the "rape" flower... whatever that means. There were huge fields of these yellow flowers with balloons flying and many pinwheels.












At the tents there were some vendors and food. I bought honey from a very friendly lady, she let us taste a billion different honeys. While I was buying honey, a older soju (liquor of choice in Korea, tastes like watered down vodka) influenced man freaked out and starting throwing food from the vendors up in the air and down the street and at other vendors, chestnuts were raining down and meat sticks went flying. The honey lady was really worried for us and made us come into her tent to wait it out. She apologized a lot for his behavior. A bunch of Korean men caught hold of him and dragged him off. Very strange. I also got a crab corndog.
Ride back was really long, but we made good time. Got back around noon, then I took a really long nap. Feeling good! I don't feel that sick anymore. I have some congestion, but no longer coughing or feeling miserable.
Can't believe its almost Monday already! The weekends go by so fast.

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