Magical Mystery Tour - 2 in Chuncheon (Day 254)
Another one, our Magical Mystery Tour - 2. In Chuncheon this time and a bit bizarre as well!
Ah – we’ve changed and today was a great example that we, or should I say “I” have changed. I will explain later. Tim had found an Art Museum to visit today. It was a bit out of the city, but after a 12-minute walk, we could get a bus directly there. At the bus stop we couldn’t find a bus timetable, so decided to wait for ten minutes. If the bus didn’t turn up, we’d get a taxi. Just before our allotted time, the bus arrived. Tim followed the route on Kakao, the Korean equivalent of google maps. All was going well until the bus veered off the main road to the right, going in the opposite direction to the Art Museum. Now, in the past, we may have got a bit agitated, fretful, got off the bus at the next stop; any or all three of these. This time, we just sat and wondered calmly what magical mystery tour we’d be on today. We passed through a small village with allotments growing lots of chillies, maize and sesame plants, there were some nice looking houses being built, it looked like quite an affluent area. We thought the bus would take a left over a bridge, but no, it carried on, even further away from our destination. The bus came to a halt at the end of the village and swung to the right. The driver was doing a three-point turn! There was a big ditch behind us with the back of the bus hanging over the edge. The driver seemed to know what he was doing - I think he’s done this a few times! The bus did eventually go over the bridge back to the main road and we were back on track. We arrived. No art museum to be seen. We were in the middle of the countryside with a few modern buildings. One had large models of transformers outside – bizarre. It turned out that this was a Toy Museum and that the Art Museum was on the ground floor…usually. But it was being reconstructed! This is the fourth time we have arrived at an Art Museum in Korea and it was closed. We took it all in our stride as if this was totally normal. There was nothing we could do, in fact, it seemed quite amusing. We didn’t fancy going to the toy museum, so walked out and wandered around. As well as the Toy Museum, there were four other buildings and two large car parks. Cut a very long story short, we discovered that 3 of the buildings were food places, a bakery, McDonald’s (would you believe) and a curry house! The other building was a Spa. And we also found out that the bus back to the city was in 3 hours’ time. There are only 4 buses a day each way, so it was amazing that we managed to get here in the first place! What to do? How to spend the next 3 hours here in the middle of nowhere? We went and sat in the air-conditioned bakery and pondered. I looked on google; there’s a Jade company here. I researched a bit more and found out that this company Oksanga owns all of these facilities, the Spa, the Bakery, the Museum etc. plus they offered tours of the cave. I’m not sure why, but I suggested that we went into the building with the Spa. Sure enough, there was a reception area for the cave. Oksanga is the only Jade mine in Korea and the only White Jade mine in the world. We changed our shoes for slippers and walked down a tunnel with a beautiful jade floor and lots of old pottery encased along the walls. Off the tunnel were small dark rooms with heated floors where people could lie down. The first one we went into, two men were fast asleep snoring their heads off. We left them to it! We were going deeper into the mountain and the environment changed. We were now in a tunnel of bare rock and hard hats were to be worn. A tap of Okjeongsu groundwater was there so that we could taste this unique water. Apparently, it is effective in treating haemorrhoids, constipation, and indigestion, not that we suffer from any of there. It was here that we met Emjay, a reporter for the regional newspaper. He asked if he could take our photo. We ended up having a great conversation with him and he then offered us a lift back to the city. We couldn’t believe our luck. So, today I was reminded that everything always works out fine. There really is no need to get uptight, worry, or get in a paddy, it is just a waste of energy. A great quote I often use with clients is that “worry is like riding a rocking horse, you use a lot of energy but don’t get very far”. When our travels don’t go according to plan, we now see them as another magical mystery tour – it’s far more fun to experience life like this. And the rest of the day? We went to the cinema to watch Mission Impossible 5 – Fallout. Luckily it was in English with Korean subtitles. The usual “edge of the seat” stuff, lots of action in Paris. Great ending to our weird and wonderful magical mystery tour - 2.