Walking Jeju – Olle 20 & 21 (The End)
With feet like lead I pushed on. Street art plied the walls of some quaint back streets at the beginning of Route 20 as I ambled alongside desolate beaches and now seemingly out of season hotels and restaurants. Yet, a fish market close by still heaved boisterously.
As my last day on the Olle drew to a close I approached Jimbon Peak. The sky now was a crimson delight as clouds whipped past in the high winds and created a true artisans palate of colouration. Even the peak of Hallasan made an appearance. We probably wouldn’t be seeing one another again for the rest of our lives, so this felt like an apt send off; somewhat of a farewell salute. I huffed and puffed and sweated to the summit where I lost light fast and soon found myself cast into darkness. Lights flickered across the island and out to sea; a small trail of which illuminated a pathway to the peak of Seongsan. I’d done it, and this was the perfect ending. The exhilaration of being out in the elements answering to no other but your own free will and determination, for a simple man such as myself, there are very few finer things in life.
As I descended club footed in the dark to a nearby bus stop I would wait for some 30 minutes in a bitterly cold wind that whistled through metal and made the power lines a short way above my head clap together in what sounded like mocking applause. The wind chilled my sweat and I shivered like a windswept junkie. A drunk stumbled past in a short sleeved white t-shirt. He stopped to study my face, slightly too close for my liking before shuffling onwards, I imagined none the wiser.
I gave up on the bus and walked another 1.4km west to a main road, hopeful that I might find a ride back into town. For today alone I’d walked 35km, and in 16 days I’d walked the entire 425km circuit of the Jeju Olle, what was another kilometre or so to me now?