I know this is going to be shocking, but we have officially made it to the last batch of Korea recaps! We just had dinner last weekend with our friend Jason and he asked, “How many times have you been there now? Wow, it seems like a lot more than just two times.” And Henry mumbled, “That’s because she is STILL blogging about it.”
SORRY FOR BEING THOROUGH!
Anyway, to those who haven’t abandoned ship out of sheer annoyance, today we will start talking about Sunday, August 4th, which was our second-to-the-last day in Korea and the last day that I have yet to record on this dumb site so that one day when I’m in the nursing home, Chooch can open up my blog in hologram-form and read these posts to me while some nurse spoon-feeds me pureed peas and orange Jello.
Green and orange is such a hideous color combo that I actually kind of like it.
This was our big Korea finale where we would be staying at G-Dragon’s pension, Dolce Bita, in Ildong. Ildong is about an hour or so north east of Seoul, in the country. We had to take a bus there, which required us going to a bus station that was pretty much Hangul or GTFO, so luckily my baby babble skill level was just enough for me to find Ildong on the departures list and buy the tickets (at first I pronounced “Ildong” like an American and the ticket lady was like “?” so then I had to say it over again with a heavy Korean annunciation and then she was like “Ah!” I love languages!!!)
Anyway, you can read about our bus ride here because I was live-blogging it.
We got off the bus in Ildong with a bunch of Korean army guys and milled about the bus station aimlessly (it was moreso just a bus stop, with a small ticket window nearby). Luckily, there was a taxi stop nearby so we grabbed one and had him take us to Pocheon Art Valley, which was really the only thing aside from some Herb Island thing that there is to do tourist-wise in that area. The reason I chose the Art Valley is because several dramas have been filmed there and it just looks so beautiful!
It took about 20 minutes to arrive by taxi, and Chooch and Henry were immediately like “this place is dumb” only they said it with their poor attitudes, not words!
Please also remember that it was like 100 degrees and we were far enough outside of Seoul where English was a rarity so we were kind of just stumbling around like lost puppies. We did manage to buy tickets for the monorail without making fools of ourselves at least.
As we ascended the steep incline, the monorail operator excitedly pointed to something out of one of the windows and everyone was like “Oooh! Ahhhh!” but of course, we couldn’t tell what it was. We still looked though!
Meanwhile, some old lady was sitting in the first seat facing out and recorded the whole entire journey to the top and I was like, “Why though? Nothing is happening!”
Honestly, there is not too much information to provide aside from that it’s an old rock quarry that’s been converted into this beautiful nature-tastic retreat full of art sculptures, a planetarium, a concert site, a restaurant – I can see where this would be a very appealing day trip for older people but there were also a ton of photo zones which would cater to Generation Instagram too. We spent about two hours killing time there (we weren’t scheduled to get picked up for GD’s pension until 3) so here are some pictures.
This is the pièce de résistance, FO’ SHO. There is one drama in particular that was filmed here, called Legend of the Blue Sea, and I was SHOCKED when I found this out because it’s about a mermaid and those scenes make it look so ethereal and epic that it’s hard to believe it took place right here in some man-made lake-thing!
Chooch was like, “I didn’t watch that drama so why would I care?” and then he left to sit on a swing with some other Korean kids who I wanted him to become friends with.
LEE MINHO STOOD ON THIS BOAT IN LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA! He is one of my favorite Korean actors (says, like, every k-drama watcher ever).
Top of the quarry.
One thing is for sure, we got a lot of exercise in Korea. We climbed a steep hill to get to this view point and it was so worth it…
…even if Chooch’s hair was sticking to his face in sweaty tendrils.
There really aren’t any bad views in Korea.
Korea is largely made of mountains and they are fucking beautiful.
I had the cold sweats and jelly-legs descending this spiral staircase. It was so scary.
Henry took “real” pictures of this place using the “real camera” but I am so lazy that I still haven’t even gone through and edited those plus Henry kind of sucks at taking pictures. SORRY HENRY BUT YOU DO!!
I bet this would be such a romantic spot to walk with a date at night. It was hard for me to imagine though since it’s been so long since I have been in any type of romantic situation OH HO HO HO thanks Henry.
Meanwhile, we realized that we lost Chooch, only to find him down yonder – he had spotted a Corgi and was straight-up stalking it, he’s so fucking embarrassing.
The Adventures of Dick & Dick.
I was concerned that Chooch missed this masculine landmark in his hurry to find the Corgi, but he showed me that later that he too had taken a picture of it. A good one for his school slideshow.
I made Chooch halt his Corgi chase for this photo op. Apparently, the Corgi’s owners took its picture sitting here so Chooch started manically scrolling through the corgi hashtags on Instagram because, “all Corgis are Instagram-famous,” he reasoned.
Spoiler: he did not find this Corgi on Instagram.
Immediately after, he ran up that hill in hot pursuit of the Corgi, but the Corgi and its family were boarding the monorail—we only had one-way tickets though because the walk back to the parking lot was all downhill, so Chooch was very unhappy about this and tried to race the monorail back down.
I mumbled, “don’t fall,” and let him run off down the hill. Korea’s safe, no one was going to kidnap a sweaty American kid.
Look how cute the monorail is! Everything in Korea is cute!!
Chooch pretty much chucked my phone back at me after he took this because THE CORGI PEOPLE WERE GETTING OFF THE MONORAIL.
He goddamn walked next to them like a creepy Corgi-boo and had even looked up how to say “can I pet your dog” in Korean but lost his nerve. He gets so weird when it comes to Corgis, like me with guys in bands!
There goes the Corgi, not once bum-patted by Chooch.
Corgi probably would have been offended though because Chooch was wearing a Shiba Inu shirt. Aren’t they like rivals? Seems like they would be rivals.
Now that we were back at the parking lot, we started panicking about how to get back to the Ildong bus station, which was the designated pickup spot to get to the pension. Our options were to walk down to the main road outside of the Art Valley and pray that a bus came, or sit at the taxi stand in the parking lot and pray that a taxi came.
Then a taxi came!
But the taxi driver was actually off duty and actually there with his wife to enjoy a day at the Art Valley.
I was just about to find the nicest-looking person sitting in the nearby courtyard to ask them to call a taxi for us, when one actually pulled up and we all drop-rolled into it and proceeded to ride back to town in silence.
Pocheon Art Valley was nice but I wouldn’t recommend traveling outside of Seoul solely to visit this place unless you’re super into visiting filming locations or have a quarry fetish. If I could have a do-over, I think I would have opted to hang back in Seoul that day, and then take a bus to Ildong around 12:30, eat lunch in Ildong, and then go straight to pension. It would have saved us a bunch of $$$ in cab fare, that’s for sure!