Jeju Island Day 2 {From the Archives}

After an amazing night’s sleep in our swanky hotel room, I awoke Sunday morning to a beautiful view, incredibly confused. Partly, it was because I dreamed that I was accepted to Oxford and awoke in an unfamiliar place. But mostly it was because Bo-Gyun, my gomo’s friend, was fully dressed and heading out with her husband. What time was it? 8:30AM? Didn’t I go to sleep hours before her?

Eventually, I got myself out of bed, and the rest of us headed down to the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast. I wasn’t expecting much so I was shocked when I arrived to a large expansive breakfast buffet with both western and Korean dishes, chefs cooking fresh eggs in an open kitchen. Unfortunately, I was still incredibly full from all of yesterday’s eating and couldn’t imagine myself chowing down again, no matter how tasty the food looked! Luckily, they had the two components to my favourite breakfast: an americano and croissant. 

Yes, the americano came from an automatic espresso maker and the croissant was more like something from a supermarket than a French bakery, but sitting by the window in the light-filled room with white linen tables, this simple meal felt like home.

If you visit Jeju-do and need a hotel, I highly recommend Hotel Bareve. It may have been the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. Looking online, rooms right now are going for about $100 USD, which absolutely BLOWS my mind. This ain't no Best Wester, it's priced like one!

The first of that day's activities was a visit to 한라생태숲 (Halla Ecological Forest). In comparison to the hike up Seongsan Ilchulbong, this walk was very pleasant and very, very flat. Another plus what that it actually kind of looked like spring, with the trees full of leaves and green all around!

That water tasted sooooooooo good. And yes, it is coming out of a tree trunk.

Another perfect photo-op for visiting couples or a proud single woman. More room for one than two!

Another perfect photo-op for visiting couples or a proud single woman. More room for one than two!

Once we'd all finished walking, a lot of driving ensued. I think we were looking for stuff to do that was indoors. Sitting in a coffee shop seemed like a bit of a waste of our last day in Jeju-do. We found another trail but only managed to walk 5 minutes before seeking shelter from the cold!

Unable to deal with the cold anymore, we decided to get a late lunch at a famous ramen place by the beach. I don't know how we managed to squeeze our car through the tiny roads with the other cards, but somehow, we made it to the seaside shack famous for their seafood ramen. Well, to our immense disappointment, we arrived to learn that they were closed! Or at least, they weren't serving the famous ramen anymore. I'm not really sure as the sign was entirely in Korean.

Disappointed and hungry, we decided that we might as well enjoy the white sandy beach a little and get some photos because this place is seriously gorgeous!

We refueled with some caffeine at a coffee shop the top of the cliff, and then more photo taking ensued. I wouldn't say that I'm very "Korean," but my love of photo-taking (especially food) is admittedly on par with native Koreans.

Another Titanic worthy moment except no one could actually stand at the end because the wind was so strong! It actually tossed you around! I was legitimately scared for my life to stand on that thing.

Can't reiterate enough how windy it was. I'm turned to my side in order to avoid getting annoying peacock hair.

Can't reiterate enough how windy it was. I'm turned to my side in order to avoid getting annoying peacock hair.

By this point in the afternoon, we were all starving, but in the Korean way, no one complained. We sat silently in the car until we felt the relief of seeing the giant red sign beckoning us for some grilled pork, the already eating customers visible for all to envy.

Let's gooooo!!!

First, start with some seriously hot coals.

Where's the meat???

It's here! Oh god. Trying to write about this is making me salivate . . .

Sweet baby Jesus. Just look at that bubbling, crackling fat!

Now, you may be thinking, "Lia, aren't you a vegetarian?" Well, technically, no. In the States, I'm pretty much always a vegetarian as finding meat that's not factory farmed is very difficult or way too expensive for my student budget. If you remember back to last summer, I ate meat while living on the vineyard in France. The Bessieres also only ate meat that was raised humanely and organically. 

Here in Korea, grilling meat is like a religious experience, a sacred social ritual. What was I supposed to do? Ask for 5 servings of the side dishes and miss out on the social bonding despite the language gap? I mean . . . I guess I technically could have, but, honestly, I didn't want to.

Unlike sam gyup sal, which are thinner slices of pork belly, these were thick slabs of pork. I liked dipping the

After our meat, some of us washed it down with some mool naeng myun. I really liked the super thin noodles, but the taste of the soup base was off. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but it was missing the zing of really good mool naeng myun. Even though it was a little disappointing, it was nice to wash down all that meat with something cold!

Finished with dinner, we headed to the airport for our flights back to Seoul. I was genuinely sad to leave but glad that my stomach could get a break! I hope I can come back to Jeju-do during the summer and get to eat some of that famous seafood ramen! Until then, I’ll have to pursue further culinary adventures here in Seoul!