Jeju Olle – Route 9
A craggy spider infested gauntlet ascended to the tabletop peak of Weolla-bong. Sanbangsan to the west looked like a Christless Mt. Corcovado of Jeju, as it poked out of the landscape prominently by the coast. The surrounding cicadas roared just as loud as the engine of the farmer’s little blue Ford tractor as he ploughed his land. Close by a couple of elderly hikers lay flaked out on a bench comforted by the shade of an overhanging tree. I didn’t blame them, it was decisively humid for an autumn day, as I dripped sweat on tap.
A series of cave systems can be found scattered across the hilltop. Dug out by the Japanese during their WWII occupation of Korea. I walked into one much to the disapproval of a squawking bird at the caves foreboding looking entrance. A cave completely void of light in a darkness that my torch could barely penetrate. Just 50 or so metres in and all was silent; the birds, the insects, the distant traffic, the cave had vacuumed the lot up and left behind a dark, cold world that instinctively sent a shiver down my spine. It was an uninviting place; so I uninvited myself.
I descended back to the coast where there was suddenly a strong army presence; all of them armed to the teeth with fingers close to their triggers. They watched me curiously on the approach communicating to one another discreetly via their walkie-talkies. I gingerly pulled out my little blue Jeju Olle passport book and waved it at them, ‘it’s ok, I’ve got my passport,’ I declared. The lads had a good chuckle at that and decided not to pump my guts full of lead….which was nice.
Struggling for a rogue gift idea for that hard to please cycling friend this Christmas? Or maybe you just fancy treating yourself? Or your Gran? Or that secret lover you met down Spoons last Friday night? Well then, why not consider a copy of Tokyo to Tokyo, the perfect companion to any lonely and absinthe fueled Christmas.
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