Ibike Korea People-to-People Program



Photo essay: Ulchin to Ganggu

    (56mi, 90km) We follow the coast, passing villages and over headlands.
Points of Interest: Squid fishing villages, Wosang Pavillion, sandy beaches, rocky coast, coastal defenses
  The beach at sunrise (left).  Even without the quid the views are grand, dramatic, thought provoking, and philosophical.  This is a ride as much about what you see and how it makes you think, as about the physical pleasure of the ride. Mile after mile the surf rolled in (right)
  Rocky east coast, Korea observation post on coast, KoreaThe other view on the coast is preparation against possible North Korean infiltration. It is not an imaginary threat because over the decades there have been attempts using fishing boats, rafts and small submarines (and tunnels) to get personnel into South Korea. Upland in the area there are periodic military bases, and scattered along the coast there is a series of observations posts (right). Some are more camouflaged than others and from casually passing by, it is not clear if or when they are manned.  Isolated parts of the coast road are lined with chain link fence, topped with razor wire (left) -- and who knows what defensive preparations we can't see. Amidst this, day-to-day life seems to go on unconcerned and unperturbed by any threat.
  Early morning fish market on the dock, Korea off-laoding fish catch, KoreaNot all the fishing is for squid. It is fascinating to watching the fishing boat arrive at the wharf in the morning.  They are met by a throng of buyers equipped with note pads and cell phones.
  fishing boat with squid catch, Korea This boat has a catch of squid.  There actually seem to be relatively few squid boats relative to the number of people "processing squid."  It appears that families buy the fresh squid and then clean and dry them as a family business.  I only saw one or two "factories" that looked like they might be doing "industrial" squid processing, but even these were quite small in scale.
  women cleaning fresh squid In front yards, parking lots and along the side of the road there are people cleaning squid.
  women hanging squid on lines to dry, Korea squid on lines to dry, Koreawomen hanging squid on lines to dry, KoreaOnce cleaned they need to be hang, flip and dress the squid.
  squid on lines to dry, Korea There are drying lines of one-thousand squid,
  squid on lines to dry, Korea then walls of ten-thousand squid,
  squid on lines to dry, Korea and racks of one-hundred-thousand squid.....you may be thinking that this is too many squid pictures, but you should be thank for the ones I am not posting.  We passed through squid villages for over 80km (50 miles).  We saw hundreds of racks with 1000 squid -- that's 100,000 squid.  We saw scores of racks with 10,000 squid -- that's a couple 100,000 more squid.  And we saw several racks with what seemed like 100,000 squid.  We might have seen a million squid during the day.  I tried to resist taking too many squid pictures -- somewhat unsuccessfully. 
squid drying with regular laundryGranted it was very much the exception, not the rule:  More than once I saw squids hung on the same line as the regular laundry -- it was hard to resist the impulse to take a photo (right).  This is squid country.

Are there any left in the ocean?  And, who is eating all of this dried squid?

  Evacuation route sign evacuation procedures sign, South KoreaFrom the surrealistic world of dried squid one is brought back to reality by the tsunami warning signs.  But these might be as reality based as they seem.  These were new along the coast, between 2004 and 2006, and show evacuation routes.  They are probably a response to the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004.  It is interesting that the "Evacuation Route" signs (left) are primarily English (for the itinerate visitor) and the detailed evacuation procedure signs (right) are entirely Hangul (for the permanent resident).
  Typical to quickly modernizing Korea, there are examples of the country’s extensive efforts preserve its traditional culture and celebrate its rich history.  On this route there is a heritage village, Confucian seowan (school) and royal pavilion.  At each site there are signs extolling their history and virtues.
  Wolsongjong (pavilion) and the nearby beach and pine forest have traditionally been considered one of the eight scenic areas of Gwandong region.  It has attracted many poets and men of letters.  Local tradition has it that four leading Hwarang, elite youth warriors, of Shilla visited this area to appreciate the scenic beauty created by the harmony of a forest of 10,000 pine trees and a 4 km long sandy beach.  There is another legend that the pavilion was named "wolsong" because the four Hwarang visited the pine forest (song) and the pine seeds which were brought from the country of wol.
  rice field and farmland, Korea "scare crows" in traditional hanbok (formal Korean dress)Here we take a shortcut through the rice fields.  The farm roads, which are smooth concrete, become our private bike trails.  I sure beats the highway.  We have no complaints because we have avoided heavy traffic 90% of the time or more.

One farm dressed dozens of "scare crows" in traditional hanbok (formal Korean dress).

  Monument commemorating the struggle and liberation from the Japanese A sustainable power pole with a wind power generator and several solar photo voltaic panels.Monument commemorating the struggle and liberation from the Japanese (left).

A sustainable power pole (right) with a wind power generator and several solar photo voltaic panels.

  Goesi Village Goesi Heritage Village gives you a sense of how rural Koreans typically lived up until the mid-twentieth century – and some people still live.  The village was originally called Hojichon because it has a pond named Hoji. It was given its modern designation by Yi Saek (1328-1396), also known by his pen name Mogeun, who was a great Goryeo scholar famous for his Confucian learning and writing in Yuan. The village has about thirty listed cultural assets.
  Goesi Village house restoration Traditional heritage house being restored in Goesi Village
  Goesi Village, Mulsowa House One of the cultural assest is the Mulsowa house: This house was built for Nam T'aek-man, a 9th generation ancestor of the present owner.
  Goesi Village, Yeongyang Nam Clan House Head residence of the Yeongyang Nam Clan: This house is said to have been constructed by Man Pung-ik towards the end of the 17th century.  The house has a square layout with a courtyard at the center.  There is a women's quarters, a men's quarters, kitchen and several other rooms.  It is a good example of residential structures prevalent in the latter part of the Choson-period (1392-1910).
  Houses perched on the hills above the ocean, Korea A man fishing close to shore, KoreaInterspersed with the other attractions is a rugged coastline (think beautiful).  Inspiring panoramas kept coming hour after hour all day long.  Between the hanging squid, fishing villages, crashing surf and coastal cliffs, this must be one the most scenic rides in Korea. Houses perched on the hills above the ocean would have "million dollar views" if in North America (left).

A man is fishing close to shore (right).

  When you only visit someplace once you only get a snapshot of life.  It is hard to get a feel of where it has come from and where it is going. Visiting more than once you get slightly more understanding of the dynamism of the society.  That is reflected in this wind farm which was rugged hill tops before and then appeared in 2006.  Bearing in mind that wind farms are located in windy places, it is an provocative questions, "how do they make repairs to the blades?"  Answer: They send a man up on a long boom (right).  The five foot high man is probably at least 150 feet above the ground. The other turbines were spinning when the picture was taken -- the wind was blowing!

Let this be a not so subtle reminder that the coast can be windy. Riding the coast is a totally different ride if you do it going with the wind, as opposed to into the wind.  As much as I like some exercise, I have a strong preference for ride with the wind.

  coastline along the East Sea, north of Ganggu Rugged coastline (think beautiful) along the East Sea, north of Ganggu.  Inspiring panoramas kept coming hour after hour all day long.  Between the hanging squid, fishing villages, crashing surf and coastal cliffs, this is perhaps the most scenic day of the trip. 
  Near the wind turbines they have developed a "Sunrise Point" with and observation tower, trails, piped in music and snack concessions.
  crab sculpture, Korea crab sculpture, KoreaFor lack of a better moniker the coast around Ganggu can be called the "Crab Coast".  Crabbing seems to be a main industry and even small fishing villages have large crab sculptures in them.
    Did I remember to mention the specialty food of Ganggu?  They seem to be on steroid and on the side of every other building in town.
Crab and Live Fish Restaurant on the waterfront, Ganggu fish drying on the roadside, Ganggu Koreafish drying on the roadside, Ganggu KoreaAlmost every storefront in the photo on the left, along the waterfront, is a restaurant.  Crab restaurants out-numbered live fish restaurants about ten-to-one.

Not everything in Ganggu is crab.  There was fish drying in racks along the side of the road, fish markets, a jetty to walk out, the harbor to enjoy, colonies of birds, and a somewhat normal commercial district. Away from the water front there are also chicken and meat restaurants.

Fish market, Ganggu Korea Jetty and lighthouse, Ganggu Korea Harbor, Ganggu Korea Birds, Ganggu Korea Business district, Ganggu Korea
Selecting live fish at restaurant, Ganggu Korea Preparing the fish at a restaurant, Ganggu KoreaEating a raw fish dinner, Ganggu KoreaFor dinner you can select a live fish or crab from the case (depending upon the restaurant and your taste).  It is prepared on the spot.  And then it becomes part of a large meal.
Crab dinner, GangguCrab dinner, GangguOf course crab is the specialty, but it is no bargain and it is not fast food.  The whole process of a crab dinner involves several courses takes well over an hour.
  Ganggu at night. Ganggu at night (left), and
building a breakwater around "the harbor" (right), which eventually will cease to be a harbor as they fill it in as a "land reclamation" project..

Ulchin Gyeongju

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