Tag Archives: island hopping

Gaedo (Gae Island)

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It’s already been over a month since we took the trek to Gaedo on September 28th!

We are loving living just a quick boat ride away from so many gorgeous islands. Yeosu, our home city, is full of islands to visit just a hop skip, and a jump away. If we haven’t been hiking/camping we have been exploring islands. Gaedo marks our 8th island we have visited since moving to South Korea in April.

It rained most of our day trip to Gaedo, but we didn’t let it rain on our parade.

It was the island of cows. Seriously though. It was.  We trekked through trails overgrown fields up and around three hill climbs. The views of the sea littered with even more islands was completely stunning, but the cows were everywhere. I felt like we were back in Wisconsin. Lisa and I wouldn’t make eye contact with the cows as we passed them.  Just kept our eyes on the prize of the trail lost somewhere under the tall weeds. I am pretty sure these massive creatures of muscle were tied to the ground by a rope…although I am not entirely sure. What’s to say with a pull of their massive tree trunk legs they couldn’t snap the rope and charge at us? Tom trekked through ahead not even phased by the bulls who kept letting out what sounded like a cry-for-help-kinda-moo. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day we spent on Gaedo. A beautiful little, quaint, and quiet island somewhere in the Sea off of Yeosu, South Korea. Tom has documented the trip extensively here for those who may want to venture there yourself. It’s spectacular. You should.

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Our trail.

A trail that once was.

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We made it through the cow invested field.

We made it through the cow infested field.

Lisa in the weeds.

Lisa in the weeds.

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Snuck in a picture with this guy. ;P

Snuck in a picture with this guy. ;P

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Back on flat ground

Back on flat ground

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Linking up with Bonnie @ A Compass Rose

10 Stunningly Beautiful Korean Hikes

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Tom and I hike A LOT. Many weekends in Korea have been spent hiking and we can’t think of a better way to see Korea then when you hike. We absolutely have grown to love it since moving to Korea seven months ago. I have mentioned a few of the hikes we have done. Like Wolchusan and the Bijindo Island hike, but for the most part I’ve left it up to my husband Tom to do most of the hiking documentation in his sweet blog. We have now accomplished six of Korea’s National Parks, and countless more smaller ones in our area. Inspired by our incredible friends, Tom and I hope to make it to all 16 National Parks in Korea. Right now, we usually pick a “loop” route (if the park has it) and we always make sure to summit the highest few peaks in each park. Once we have conquered all sweet 16 we will go back and do other trails we didn’t make it to the first time.

Oh man, and the leaves are changing now. Talk about beautiful.  Next weekend, we have plans to hike another mountain named Naejangsan. It’s apparently the PEAK weekend to see the leaves changing colors and the best place in Korea to view the fall colors. I’m such a summer gal at heart, but fall is tugging at my heart strings. Sweaters, cooler air, gorgeous leaves, and coffee. Korea, your beauty is shocking, and you’ve completely stolen pieces of my heart. From our arrival last spring when the cherry blossoms were just starting to bloom, combating summer heat while frolicking in your sea, and now the absolute natural beauty of fall. You’ve got me hook, line, and sinker, Korea.

I have picked my 10 favorite pictures of our hikes thus far in Korea. Most of the photo credit goes to Tom, but I am his wife so I get to use steal them as I please :p

Deogyusan National Park:

Jeju Island Olle Trails:

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Gae Island (Gaedo):

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Jirisan National Park:

Bijin Island (Bijindo):

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Hallasan National Park:

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Woraksan National Park- (The completion of 10 peaks in 3 days):

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Hwahdo (Hwah island):

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Songnisan National Park:

Gubongsan (The view of some of our city-Yeosu):

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Do you like hiking?

I don’t know if it’s the beauty, the silence of nature, the one foot in front of the other, or the accomplishment of getting to the top that I love more.

Jirisan Mountain AND Bijindo Island- Chuseok break

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I’ll admit it… Ever since we moved to Korea I have had it in my head that we should be “traveling” every chance we get (while this is something Tom and I both want to do) for whatever reason when I think of “travel” I think of airplane, leaving the country, and discovering a new country that I haven’t been to.

We have been really lucky to have had three 4 day (or 5 day) weekends since we started in April with another 4 day weekend coming up the first week of October…along with 10 days of vacation in August when we went to Malaysia, and also a really big 21 day winter vacation coming up in less than 100 days!!! Why is it that EVERY single time I find out we have days off or vacation days coming up that I feel the need to leave Korea when Korea still feels new to us? We have certainly not explored all that Korea has to offer, and I would even go as far to say that we haven’t even discovered 1/8 of it!!! Without fail, though, as soon as I hear we have vacation I am frantically checking AIR ASIA’s page to find the cheapest deals to travel Southeast Asia.

What I am getting at is simple: Some of the BEST vacations we have had have been ones where we stayed in Korea to explore and travel. Like Jeju island, Discovering the Shinan Islands, and this one- the one I am about to tell ya about! I’ve learned it’s the simple things that make me happy… AND that can happen just as easily (if not easier) while we discover more about Korea. Tom and I have a list started on the things we want to do in Korea that include things like: The tour of the DMZ, Making it to all 20 of the National Parks to hike (and hopefully more then once), Visiting all 33 of these beautiful islands, Staying in a traditional temple overnight, skiing with friends in the winter, and attending various festivals around Korea such as the famous Mud festival, Jinju lantern festival, and the tea festival that takes place not to far from where we live…just to name a FEW!

Korea has SO much to offer and I imagine our list will continue to grow the more we discover. For Korean Thanksgiving which fell September 18- 22 this year… First, Tom and I decided to hike in Jirisan National park. It was in Jirisan over the Korean Thankgiving that we hiked the second highest peak in Korea after tackling the highest peak in Korea at Halla Mountain on Jeju island in June. We spent two days camping in Jirisan National park before we packed up our stuff and headed to meet 6 of our friends for 2 more days of camping on Bijindo (Bijin island.) The city we first drove to was called Tongyong (about 2 hours from our city of Yeosu)  where we boarded the ferry. We did a lot of relaxing, a bit of hiking, sunbathing, swimming, and even snuck in some marshmallow roasting n’ s’more making. YUM. CNN wrote about this slice of paradise here where we first became intrigued with the thought of visiting Bijindo.

Don’t get me wrong… I am always excited when we decide to visit other countries (and I am so pumped to tell ya what our winter vacation plans are when we have 21 vacation days in January/ February this year!!!!) but it was such a great lesson for me to learn that we can still “travel” when we are traveling Korea.

Below are my FAVORITE pictures from our 5 days off (excluding the big hike as I know Tom will document the hike very soon):

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Exploring near the camp site in Jirisan

Exploring near the camp site in Jirisan

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Nothing like fresh mountain water...

Nothing like fresh mountain water…

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Goodbye Jirisan National Park and Hello Bijindo Island :)

Goodbye Jirisan National Park and Hello Bijindo Island 🙂

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Hiking Bijindo

Hiking Bijindo

Casual workout during our hike :)

Casual workout during our hike 🙂

Love this guy, this view, and hiking.

Love this guy, this view, and hiking.

The view from the top of the hike. STUNNING!

The view from the top of the hike. STUNNING!

Sunny and 80 all weekend. My favorite weather.

Sunny and 80 all weekend. My favorite weather.

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4 tents. 8 friends.

4 tents. 8 friends.

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The most beautiful sunsets I have seen in ALL of Korea.

The most beautiful sunsets I have seen in ALL of Korea.

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Sometimes the greatest adventures are just outside of our doorstep.

Hahwado- a little slice of heaven! (Hahwa island)

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Before our Chuseok weekend ( Korean Thanksgiving) where we had 5 awesome days of camping, hiking, and island life…

We visited two islands by the names of Sado and Hahwado. I documented Sado here if you missed it. With last week being a two day work week I was only able to squeeze in enough time for two blog posts. SO, I will wrap up our island hopping weekend from September 14th before I plunge into posting about our Chuseok adventures. Just like the last post on Sado…some of the pictures are from Cory and Michelle’s camera while the first 4 are from my iphone.

Hahwado was about 45 minutes away from our city of Yeosu by ferry, and marks our third island we have visited off of Yeosu. It was a fabulous island where we did a 5km (easy) hike around the island after first exploring Sado. I loved Hahwado because it had the tiny island feel but also had people out and about, it had a small shop/restaurant that was open, and we met some pretty cool Koreans along the stroll around the island.

“Beautiful cliffs with panoramic views of islands along the horizon” is the best way to sum up Hahwado island in one sentence, but (as always) I will let you see for yourself!

There is something I just ADORE about pictures of Korean fishing boats, the water, and the islands in the background.

There is something I just ADORE about pictures of Korean fishing boats, the water, and the islands in the background.

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A sleepy little town…

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Trekkin’ along the island path.

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What a VIEW!

4 friends. An incredible day of island hopping. What more can I ask for?

I read this the other day from a dear lady and I couldn’t agree with her more:

“Looking back through pictures these last few months I was thinking, dang, I so want to be me! And I get to be me- whoop! And I get to have the coolest life ever……filled with gratitude for everything and everyone in my life. Don’t be jealous, come and visit me so you can have the same.”

There is just ONE thing I would like to add to the above quote…and that is this: it is ALL about perspective. You may look at your life, and think that it doesn’t compare to the adventures that the next person is having. If your “adventure” looks different then mine right now it doesn’t mean that one is better then the other. YOUR adventure could be getting out for a walk around your neighborhood, exploring a nearby city, a trip to the zoo, or making cookies with your kids.

Whatever your life looks like right NOW I hope today you find peace knowing that your adventure is an amazing one. If it isn’t amazing get out there and make stuff happen.. I believe in YOU!

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Enjoy a new journey today! Your journey may mean walking instead of running around, taking the time to appreciate the little things, or sending a message to a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile.

Love love love,

e

My favorite moment of our day: This kind Korean family we met along our journey.

My favorite moment of our day: This kind Korean family we met along our journey.

5 things I LOVED about Sado (Sa island)

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Since fall is lurking around the corner… this past weekend Tom and I along with our friends Cory and Michelle hit the islands for some island exploration. Since Yeosu is a coastal town it provides TONS of opportunities for us to get out and explore islands by ferry. This past weekend we headed to not one, but TWO islands in the same day. We loved exploring, relaxing, and discovering Sado. Here are my top 5 reasons why I loved Sado!

– Side note. Most of the pictures were taken with Cory and Michelle’s amazing camera!!! Although, a few are from my iphone 😉

1. Dinosaurs. Sado is known for it’s dinosaur fossil tracks- and also the massive dino replicas that are scattered throughout the island.

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2. These beautiful stone wall walk ways. The island was pretty vacant besides a few “adjumma’s” also known as korean older woman. There are a few people who live on this itty bitty island, but what the island lacks in size it makes up in beauty! – Which brings me to my next point.

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3. The gorgeous beaches (Sado has two) and the clarity of it’s water was stunning.

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Storm rolling in. We got lucky and just a few sprinkles for 10 minutes or so. Made for some awesome photos.

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4. Spending time together AND with our friends.

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5. Simplicity. Sado had no other tourists on the island except US! We actually only saw a handful of people. It was just the simple island life for us, and only an hour by boat from Yeosu. One of the 14,985,830 reasons I love Jeollanamdo province (the province we live in) more on that later though!

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This will be my last post of the week as we only worked a 2 day week!!! It’s Korean Thanksgiving here this week known to Korean’s as Chuseok. We will be off hiking, island exploring, and relaxing with friends. Next week I will share our journey to Hwado (another island we visited this past weekend) AND our 5 day hiking/island trip we are about to embark on.

Enjoy life and create a journey this week.

-elicia

linking up with Bonnie for Travel Tuesday!

Geumodo Island Exploration

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This past weekend we headed to Geumodo Island just off of our city- Yeosu. Tom documented this island day trip here, but I couldn’t resist posting my favorite pictures of our day! I know I keep saying this, but I feel incredibly blessed to live in such an amazing city on the ocean that we can do these day trips to islands nearby. We hiked around 10 miles of this beautiful island on the west coast with our new friends from South Africa Brennan and Victoria.

Eat your heart out island lovers!

Arriving in Geumodo Island.

Arriving in Geumodo Island.

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New friends from South Africa Brennan and Victoria.

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Namhae (in a nutshell) Island Kayaking, Camping, Sangju Beach

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Namhae is an island that is to the East of where we live in Yeosu. On Saturday, Tom and I took a bus to Suncheon, and then transferred on a bus to Namhae! Total travel time from Yeosu was about 2 hours. First stop a 4 hour kayaking adventure trip. I had heard great things about this man named Julio who runs a kayaking adventure business. We found his number online, and he spoke excellent English! We waited at the bus station once we arrived in Namhae for Julio to pick up our group of 7. We drove about 25 minutes to his shop near the sea, and also right near the famous German Village. Julio told us that in the 1960’s many Korean nurses and miners were invited to work in Germany in exchange for pay. Germany had a high need for more workers while Korea had skilled workers, but not the money to pay for the jobs. After living and working in Germany some Koreans had married Germans, and wanted a place to come back “home” to.  An area of Namhae was created as a place for these Korean/German families to come back to Korea, and live peacefully. According to my husband Tom there are only 3 of those original families still living in Namhae…as they are probably in their mid 80’s by this time. We spent the afternoon kayaking/exploring. We had a delicious German beer in the German village after our adventure, and caught a local bus to Sangju beach. Namhae has about 48,000 residents, but is becoming a popular destination for visitors. They are known for growing spinach, garlic, and rice. There are plenty of “pensions” (cheap hotels) to stay in…or set up a tent, and sleep under the stars. Another thing I love about Korea is you can just about camp anywhere for FREE!

Sangju beach is gorgeous with beautiful sand. The downside to this is that the beach had many people camping there. Tom and I are more about secluded/quiet beaches, but the views at Sangju were stunning, the sand felt like silk, and the water/beach was CLEAN! I highly recommend it. The one downside to Namhae is that the local buses don’t run as frequently as we are used to in Yeosu. (you can almost always catch a bus to anywhere in Yeosu within 15 minutes) Namhae covers a BIG portion of land…there are taxi’s, but from the bus terminal to Sangju beach it is about 20,000 won or 20$ American dollars. Many people rent cars to explore! Although, of course you can do it without one as we did. Just keep an open mind to waiting for a bus, or flagging down a taxi 🙂 We found lots of information about Namhae Island here and information on Julio’s kayaking here (Note: Julio’ place has moved from Dumo village to near the German village)

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I am a lucky lady ;)

I am a lucky lady 😉

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Taking a break in the German village with some good beer!

Taking a break in the German village with some good beer!

Beautiful views on the bus to Sangju beach

Beautiful views on the bus to Sangju beach

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Headed to the beach!

Headed to the beach!

Sanju Beach

Sanju Beach

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Our weekend in a nutshell! 🙂

Biguem-do Island

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On June 21st we visited an island with small villages, salt and rice fields, filled with not a lot of people, but so much beauty. The most magical little “heart shaped” beach. Biguem-do Island was about an hour and a half from the Mokpo ferry terminal by boat. Rumor has it that Bigeum-do ranks in at #7 out of 827 for largest size in the Shinan Islands. There are buses, but few and far between…especially compared to the bus system in Yeosu.

After arriving we hopped on a bus AND then a taxi. Winding through fields and cliffs we finally drove up to what looked like a deserted beach. As we walked out to the beach- the fog/mist was incredible. It was moving through the valley that was carved out into a beach. I felt like we were in a dream. Tom went for a swim, but it wasn’t quite warm enough for me to dive in 🙂

Alyssa, Pat, and Jessie have two great Korean friends Minsul and Chang Suk who came a bit later to the island, and picked us up at the beach! Minsul’s family has a home in Biguemo-do, and invited us to stay the night there. Hanging with them made me realize how important it is to develop friendships with Koreans- you really get to see Korea in the most amazing way. We stayed in “popeye village” known for spinach grown there. Great food, amazing company, and time to unwind on the island was the perfect weekend get away. Secluded, quaint, and quiet best describe Biguemo-do. It would be tough to visit without a vehicle as we saw very few people the entire time we were there. The nature is gorgeous, and I loved that the beach wasn’t packed with tourists.

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Walking out into the mist.

Walking out into the mist.

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View from the beach looking back towards land

View from the beach looking back towards land

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More beach beauty...

More beach beauty…

Time to head up, up, up to the scenic look out point. (Photo credit- Minsul)

Time to head up, up, up to the scenic look out point. (Photo credit- Minsul)

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Can you see the heart?

Can you see the heart?

Drivin through the fields...

Drivin through the fields…

Famous for the salt fields

Famous for the salt fields

Almost to Minsul's home

Minsul’s family home is straight ahead in the picture

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Made it.

Made it.

Rice fields. So peaceful.

Rice fields. So peaceful.

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BBQ

BBQ

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Tom finally getting to FISH!

Tom finally getting to FISH!

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T &e

Ferry home. Beautiful views.

Ferry back to Mokpo. Beautiful views.

Livin’ the dream…

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Livin’ the dream…

June 1st and 2nd are best described as what I would like to call a true adventure. Our friends Pat and Alyssa came to visit us in Yeosu. We had planned a weekend island hopping, and camping! I’d like to say though, that the best adventures are the most unplanned ones.

With the ferry times to some of the more popular islands around Yeosu not working out with our schedules…we thought we would try our luck with a ferry to a small island only 5 min away from the mainland. First going to the wrong ferry terminal used for day cruises we were instructed on the new ferry terminal we needed to get to. So on we went in a taxi! Onto the ferry and across the water just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the mainland.

Upon arrival we randomly got on what looked like a shuttle bus to a hotel. We were taken to a resort and told to camp in what I will call the backyard of the resort! Pat, Tom, Alyssa, and I were determined to find a beach, and camp on the ocean. Upon hearing there were no beaches on this island…back to the little slab of cement the ferry docks on to take it back to the mainland…typically I would call it a port, but slab of cement was exactly what it was. From the mainland we decided to go to a beach on Dolsan. Dolsan is an island that is connected by bridge to the mainland of Yeosu. Back in a taxi we went again this time with a plan, and a location in mind.

Arrive at beach #1 on Dolsan. It has a lovely marine life aquarium. ANDDDDDD a beautiful beach of…wait for it…. rocks! Not ideal for camping with tents. We begin searching for a beach with SAND. Began talking with the manager of the marine life aquarium, and long story short he had his co worker drive us about 20 minutes down, up, and around Dolsan to our final destination. Bangjukpo beach. Hotel California blared on the speakers while we all sang along as we zig zagged through the gorgeous countryside of Dolsan to the beach. I remember smiling so big that it hurt. Looking at Tom thinking “man, life is so good here…we are living the dream” and I know he thought just the same thing.

Watching baby goats frolic in the grass, collecting massive amounts of beautiful sea glass, a campfire, wonderful korean families with so much love to give, fireworks, relaxing on the beach, and simply enjoying the wonderful company of our friends…have all brought me extreme joy this past weekend.

We made it!!!

We made it!!!

My hubby!!

My hubby!!

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baby goats

baby goats

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Love the sunset...

Love the sunset…

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Saturday's journey in red to Bangjukpo beach...Jangdeung beach journey in blue (Sunday)

Saturday’s journey in red to Bangjukpo beach…Jangdeung beach journey in blue (Sunday)

On Sunday Tom figured out how to take the city buses to the most beautiful little beach called Jangdeung beach. It was secluded, clean, and the mountains littered the backdrop. Our phones had both died so we have no pictures this time! That just means we need to visit again soon. It was about an hour trip… and I can’t believe the buses go out there. No town really. Just the fresh country air, sun, and the sand.

My heart continues to do leaps n’ bounds of joy. As every single day is a new adventure waiting to be discovered. We are just here in this little corner of the beautiful world…Livin’ the dream.

After school Adventures…

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After school Adventures…

Tom likes to stay busy during the week.

I like to relax after a long day of teaching.

We have found meeting in the middle, and planning our weeks out in the beginning of the week allows for us to have the perfect combination of exploration, and relaxation. I keep waiting for this “WOW, this city is amazing” feeling to completely wear off, but it hasn’t for almost two months now, and it is a pretty big city. We have found that we will have plenty of mountains to climb, heaps of beaches to explore, and copious amounts of islands surrounding Yeosu that we haven’t even touched on yet. Here are some of my favorite pictures of our after school adventures from the past two weeks.

A hike up the mountain just a couple blocks from our house

A hike up the mountain just a couple blocks from our house

The top!

The top!

The walk to a little island (connected by a walking bridge) called Odongdo.

The walk to a little island (connected by a walking bridge) called Odongdo.

Yeosu expo in the back. Odongdo island.

Yeosu expo in the back. Odongdo island.

Tom jumpin for joy!

Tom jumpin for joy!

Exploring Odondo island.

Exploring Odongdo island.

Bamboo forest (Odongdo)

Bamboo forest (Odongdo)

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Cliffs of Odongdo.

Cliffs of Odongdo.

Cute light show we stumbled upon.

Cute light show we stumbled upon.

Walkin back home!

Walkin back home!

Vino with some friends. I promise that is not all ours!

Vino with some friends. I promise that is not all ours!

Found another beach about 10 min from our apartment. Ungcheon beach!

Found another beach about 10 min from our apartment. Ungcheon beach!

Takin a stroll in a nearby neighborhood.

Takin a stroll in a nearby neighborhood.

Just hangin in the clouds after an evening hike :)

Just hangin in the clouds after an evening hike 🙂

SO yes, maybe that “amazing-new-town” feeling will eventually wear off. In some ways though, I look forward to it wearing off. I know we will discover our favorite little nooks n’ crannies of our city, and we will return time after time to our favorite places while we live here.

Until then though…We will continue to explore our fabulous little corner of the world. One jump picture, one mountain, and one beautiful beach at a time.