Thursday, May 31, 2012

To the Top of the World! Hiking Jirisan, the second highest peak in Korea

Yup, I wasn't kidding...  I really did catch hiking fever!  So after our last hike in Gyeongju, I spent a good amount of time looking for some more challenging and upcoming hiking opportunities across Korea!  As it turned out, Seoul Hiking Group was organizing a trip to Jirisan for the first weekend in May.  Measuring in at 1915m, Jirisan is the second highest peak in the country and first on the mainland (the other is Hallasan in Jeju), not to mention a little intimidating.  Up to this point, the highest peak I had reached was under 1000m high, so signing up for this one was somewhat of a leap of faith, hoping I could complete the 16km course.  Unfortunately, the arrival of May also meant that Jen would be starting her Master's and her AQ courses, which meant I would have to do this one solo.  Although I felt selfish for leaving Jen alone at home with her books and boring assignments, curiosity and adventure got the best of me and I just had to do it.  Besides, after going to a Lady Gaga concert and celebrating her birthday, I needed a little bit of me time!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Traveling to the historic city of Gyeongju - Cherry Blossoms take 2

After our failed attempt at seeing the elusive Korean cherry blossoms a few weeks before and the discovery of our new hobby, we decided to give Seoul Hiking Group a try and signed up for their upcoming Gyeongju trip.  And boy are we glad we did!  Just like Adventure Korea and WINK, Seoul Hiking Group provides all sorts of weekend trips around Korea.  Unlike the other groups, however, they offer them at unbeatable prices.  Warren is not only the founder of SHG but he also organizes and goes on every single trip.  Equipped with a passion for hiking, traveling, and socializing he offers a unique opportunity for foreigners and Koreans alike to enjoy every aspect of Korea, with a special emphasis on hiking of course (as its name infers)!  Warren is also immensely friendly and flexible, accommodating guests needs on every voyage with tailor-made precision!  Unlike the other groups, I also discovered that SHG has its very own loyal base of travelers who swear by it and who will only travel with Warren and the SHG.  Obviously, I can't speak highly enough of both Warren and SHG, so I recommend that you discover how awesome they are by yourself and sign up for one of their upcoming trips (check out the link above).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Party Rock in Korea... for real this time!

Party Rock!!!
On Saturday, April 7th, LMFAO came to Korea... well half of them did at least: Redfoo was here and rocked the house at Seoul Olympic Park (While Skyblue was nursing a "back" injury due to party rocking too much - cue rolling eyes).  Of course, Jen and I were there to partake in the festivities.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Discovering a new hobby: Hiking in Korea and the Jinhae Cherry (un)blossom Festival

After the questionably organized ski trip, we were a little weary to book plan another excursion with WINK.  But we really wanted to go to the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival and they were the only group organizing one for the opening weekend (March 31 - April 1st), so we decided to give them a second chance... and we are sure glad we did!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wearing Green and Pretending to be Irish... It must be St. Patty's in Korea!

St. Patrick's Day is a big deal back home... and, as I found out, also in Korea.  For twelve years, the Irish Association of Korea has been organizing and hosting the free St. Patrick's Day Festival in Seoul to celebrate Ireland's patron saint... and to give everyone an opportunity to wear green and get uncontrollably intoxicated.  So we decided to partake in this year's festivities with a beer in one hand and soju in the other!
I'm actually just posing with Chris' beer to "look" cool.. I started drinking much later!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Can you make me one with everything": Our Temple Stay story

Just before retiring back to our sleeping quarters after a full day temple stay program, we sat down for a chat with the Buddhist monk who was in charge of our Adventure Korea group.  He wanted to know if we had any questions about the Buddhist religion and his own path to enlightenment or if we wanted to share some "funny stories" since he loved to laugh.  As I sat there, listening to the thoughtful and meaningful questions of my peers and the sage answers of our leader, I couldn't help remembering a funny story I had once come across while surfing YouTube for no particular reason.  (Actually, you can find here).  After running it through my friend Chris, I decided to go ahead and share this "witty" joke with our humble monk.  It goes something like this: