Hot, Hot and Getting Hotter in Chuncheon (Day 257)
Phew! It's hot, hot, and getting hotter in Chuncheon so a day of rest, and we still got to see a few sights.
After a very long time sitting in Kim’s café, me writing and Tim surfing the net, we finally extracted ourselves from the coolness of their a/c back into the steamy metropolis. I’d noticed an area on the tourist map of Chuncheon called Hyoja-dong Romantic Alley. It wasn’t far from us especially as we found a shortcut weaving through a private apartment block, across the Culture and Art Centre and down a tiny passage where we immediately found the recommended noodle café I’d discovered on google. A sweet place, like going into someone’s home, with photos of grandparents, posters of keep fit regimes and long spring onions laid out on a table for some reason.
A very nice lady served us, our noodles arrived quickly and she even showed us what to do. Add vinegar, sesame oil, chilli paste and broth to the bowl of noodles, seaweed and ice cubes and mix well. It was delicious, together with Kimchi made from a green vegetable like pak choi for a change and lightly pickled radish (unlike the small hot round red ones back home, these are long and white).
We had a little chat with her about the area. The walls around the tiny village were painted about three years ago by local artists to cheer the place up and bring back a sense of community. We strolled around, looking at the artwork. Scenes of mountains and rivers, children playing, scrumping for apples, and various animals, a large tiger, two magpies and so on. It must be so nice for the residents now to walk out of their homes and see these paintings, however, they still can see the beauty of nature with the mountains veering up behind the high rise flats and office blocks in the distance.
Our next destination was along the stream to the Sculpture Park. We’d passed it on our walk with our host Minji and her parents the other evening but it was too dark to really appreciate the various figurines. This park also has a Memorial for Ethiopian Veterans in the Korean War for the 122 Ethiopian troops who died and 526 wounded in action and a small (closed) museum in an unusual black building shaped like three stupas.
I was sweltering. It’s weird how sometimes we can bear the heat whereas other times it’s just too much, and this time it was definitely the latter. I needed to cool down and have a nice iced drink, so we found The Best Ethiopian Café and enjoyed the iced mango juice and fresh lemon juice in this very comfortable and rather classy establishment. In fact, the drinks cost the same as our noodles for lunch!
Onto the sculpture park with its 29 statutes and water clock, installed back in 2001. Quite a diverse collection with no connected theme: a weird flat tiger resembling Lewis Carroll’s Cheshire cat, gymnasts, a boy hanging off a tree and various abstract shapes.
We walked back a different way and thankfully came to the underground shopping street. As we descended – ah, cool air giving us some respite from the heat before returning to our hot, hot, hot apartment. And tomorrow apparently it is even hotter reaching to 39 degrees!!!