Ibike Korea People-to-People Program

   
 

   

Photo essay: Yeoju to Chungju

   

Yeoju to CHUNGJU (54mi, 86km)  Valleys, farms and forest, with a couple major climbs.
Points of Interest: Tangeumdae (last stand of Gen. ShinRip, 1592)

  The first stop in the morning is breakfast.  This restaurant was all of 200m from the hotel.  One convenient custom of restaurants is they often print their menus on the window.  In this photo, the read and blue lettering, on the window, to the right of the bicyclists, is the menu.
  Ginkgo tree leaves, KoreaThe next section of countryside was gorgeous.  We stopped several time to admire the views and take in the pristine ambiance.

Many of the secondary roads are formally tree-lined for mile after mile.  Several types of trees are used -- often it is flowering cherry trees, but in the area of the Royal Tombs it was the non-flowering Ginkgo.

  Hangang Trail, Yeoju, Korea Hangang Trail, Yeoju, Korea Pavilion along the Han River, KoreaExiting Yeoju is on sidewalks (through 2015). Their width, surface conditions and obstructions all leave something to be desired. Each year new sections are improved so in time these issues should disappear. Once you return to a riverside trail the conditions are excite and the scenery is beautiful and engaging.
  Gangcheonbo (weir), Hangang, Korea Fish ladder and trail, Gangcheonbo, Hangang, Korea Bicycling across Gangcheonbo (weir), Hangang, Korea Gangcheonbo (weir), Hangang, KoreaAt the styling Gangcheonbo (weir), which looks like it is ready to hoist some sails and head off on its on journey, the National Cycle Way crosses the river. Gangcheonbo is another of the new Four Rivers Project dam.
  Golden rice, ready for harvest, Korea Row crops, South Korea

 

These scare-crows (left) are better dressed than most, and were wearing decidedly Korean fashion.  Occasionally scare-crows are dressed in traditional hanboks -- it is good for a smile.

  Tree-lined street, Buron, Korea If you are in need of a meal or snack in this area Buron is your best bet.  It is mostly a tree-lined, one street town that is about four blocks long.  In a several visits I have never seen is close to bustling.  It is always tranquil. But as small as it is, it has several restaurants and grocery stores.  Off the main street is a school, clinic and park.
  Army training constructing a temporary bridge across the Han River, Korea Army training deconstructing a temporary bridge across the Han River, KoreaOne visit to Buron corresponded with an army training on erecting a temporary bridge across the Han River. Within a couple of hours a flotilla of boats were launched from the back of trucks and the pontoon trucks dispatched their cargo. The boats moved them into position and the bridge was fastened together. When completed, all of the trucks drove across the river and then the process was reversed: The pontoons were detached, the boat maneuvered them to shore, their truck winched them up and drove off. When it was all finished the boats were reloaded onto their specially outfitted trucks.
 
  Hangang (river) trail between Buron and Chungju, Korea South of Buron, there are routes along both the west and east sides of the river.

The route along the west bank follows a mix of levy roads, farm roads and connecting trails.

  Hangang (river) trail between Buron and Chungju, Korea Rice stacks, between Buron and Chungju, Korea Hangang (river) trail between Buron and Chungju, Korea Hangang (river) trail between Buron and Chungju, Korea Solar panels near Chungju, Korea
  South folk of the Hangang (River), Korea

Farm road passing by rice field

rice drying on the road side, KoreaThe route along the east bank follows the rural roads.

The Hangang (River) is bordered by rice fields.  A lot of the route follows the river valley.  Generally it is quite flat, except when hill come right up to the river, and then we have to go over them.

Part of the process of getting rice to market is drying it after it has been harvested.  We were told that this makes it easier to get the husk off.  One of the convenient places for drying rice seem to be the road side.

Life is at its idyllic best were we can find farm roads that bypasses the main motor road and take us through the rice fields.

  Village and farm, Korea Red pepper farm, KoreaVillages are typically found on the lower slopes of hills.  They are often surrounded by small agricultural plots growing a variety of vegetables.

The plot to the right is dedicated to red pepper, a staple in Korean cuisine.

  Ginseng farm, Korea Ginseng farm, KoreaIn a couple of upland areas we saw extensive cultivation of ginseng.  Ginseng's natural habitat is rich shaded humus forest floor.  To replicate this the plants are grown under shade cloth.
  Lake Tangeum is a long, skinny, man-made lake on the Han River, just north of Chungju. Historically a few local rowers have used the lake training. Now the world will be coming. Some one (the government?) has recently (between 2012-13) constructed a world class rowing facilities and is host international regattas. The center has a huge boat house (in the mist behind the sign), multi-story officials center, two kilometer board walk along the coarse, and a ten tiered 300m long reviewing stand at the finish line.
  Jungangtap seven-storied stone pagoda Jungangtap seven-storied stone pagodaThe Jungangtap seven-storied stone pagoda is typical of the Silla (57BC-668) stone pagoda art. The pagoda is constructed on a double pedestal.  Up to the fifth story the main body and roof stones of the pagoda are composed of more that one stone.  The sixth and seventh stories are composed single stones, each.

Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, ChungjuThe pagoda was disassembled in 1917 for repairs.  When it was dismantled a mirror of the Goryeo and a sarira case were discovered in the main body of the sixth story and the base.

In the same park, with the pagoda, is an extensive sculpture garden.  Here is a sampling of the pieces:

  Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju
  Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju Sculpture at Jungangtap sculpture garden, Chungju
  Bridge underconstruction, Chungju Bridge underconstruction, ChungjuThe photo [2010] on the left is not only a bridge to nowhere, but also bridge pieces to nowhere.  It is interesting to see how the bridge is being constructed.  A year later (right) the bridge was still under construction but all of the pieces connected.  The bridge is part of a highway bypass for Chungju.
  Upper reach of the south fork of the Han River, Korea Chungju Dam, Korea Continuing up the Han River, past Chungju, brings you to K-Water's Chungju Dam. This is an older hydroelectic dams. In mid-2015 they started doing construction work all around the dam, including what appears to be some filling of an inlet (right) in the lake behind the dam.  I am hoping that it is not to build a resort.
  Art, Chungju, Korea Entrance to traditional central market, Chungju, KoreaFashion street, Chungju, KoreaMostly Chungju is a low rise, spread out city with miles of neighborhoods that look a lot like the last and next. The one place where Chungju steps it up a little bit is in a small area of the center of the city.  On one side of the street is the is the traditional covered central market with its rows and rows of specialty shops.  On the other is Fashion Streets where one clothing store is similar to the next, and the same is true for the other half dozen of so categories of shops; coffee shops, bakeries, phone stores, restaurants, cosmetics, convenience stores, etc.
    Central Market, Chungju, Korea Hanbok shop, Central Market, Chungju, Korea Fashion street, Chungju, Korea Fashion street, Chungju, Korea
     
 

Yeoju Mungyeong

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