I wasn't really over the moon with excitement when Leo asked if I would come down to the farm for the weekend but packed my bag and away I went. Actually I may have grizzled a little bit but I went.
On arrival Leo told me we were going to South Korea for the weekend. It was then that I was glad I did as I was told and went for the visit to the farm.
We have been doing a whole lot of socializing which I love and not much exploring on the weekends of late and with the year quickly slipping away he thought we better go somewhere. He had looked up the shortest and cheapest flights and came up with Incheon in South Korea. I can't say it was on my bucket list but can say now after visiting it that it should have been.
We were up bright and early Saturday morning and driven to the Jinan International Airport by Leo's driver. From there we took the 1hour 30 minute flight to Incheon.
On arrival we had to work out how we were going to get across the country to Gangneung where we had a night's accommodation booked. We went to the information desk and were told to go outside to the bus ticket office. The lady was very helpful, we bought the tickets, the bus pulled up and away we went, just like that, no waiting around.
It was a 4 hour bus ride from one side of the country to the other in an over the top flash bus which made for a very comfortable trip.
I was surprised how mountainous the country was and it was lovely to see little houses along the way instead of the tall apartment blocks that we are now used to in China. The main crop we saw growing was rice.
Arriving in Gangneung we then jumped in a taxi to the resort which was about a 30 minute drive from the bus station. The taxi driver was lovely and with his very limited english he seemed just as excited as us to be going to the resort.
We had been thinking that we were going to have some funny stories to tell about this tacky hotel we stayed in that looked like a cruise ship but it was very tastefully done and the staff were so lovely in their crisp sailor uniforms.
The view from our room was amazing.
There is just something about the ocean, I could look at it all day, it truly is good for me.
After checking in and gazing at the ocean for a while we then went for a walk in the grounds of the resort.
It was then time to hit the revolving bar for a pre-dinner drink, followed by lobster tails and how about that view!
Before going to sleep at night I often have to remind Leo, "No talking before 7am".
He doesn't really like to follow rules though and I am usually woken up by him telling me what he is going to plant, spray or harvest from about 5.30am. Even though I reminded him before we went to sleep I still woke to his talking but was pleasantly surprised he wasn't talking farming but wanting me to see the view. Now that was worth waking up for.
After breakfast we went for a walk along the beach and wondered why we had never thought of visiting here before.
We had been watching a man in a wet suit diving for something and when he came out with his net empty Leo asked him, "What are trying to catch mate?"
He abruptly said something to us in Korean and kept walking. We weren't sure whether he was telling us the name of the fish he was trying to catch or he was actually telling us to P*#@! Off. Our guess was probably the second one seeing he hadn't caught anything.
It was then time to check out of the resort and we had to work out how we were going to get back to Seoul where we didn't have anything booked but had planned to stay the night before flying back to Jinan the next day. The man on reception told us the fast train would be best so Leo booked the tickets and the Hotel ordered us a taxi. We were going to be cutting it fine to catch the train so the man on reception told the taxi driver he must get us to the train station as quickly as possible. OMG that taxi driver was not going to let us miss that train.
At one stage Leo said, "Look at that we are going 130kms in an 80k zone".
I said, "I can't look, I'm just trying not to vomit", as we whiz around another bend.
We get to the train station, safe and sound, walk in, jump straight on the train and off we go. There was no security like in China, no putting our luggage through the x-ray machines, no getting frisked, no showing our passports, no showing our ticket which we had paid for but not actually collected. It felt so strange just to walk straight on. So after a quick train trip we arrived in Seoul.
We get off the train to Leo singing, "I'm a Soul Man" top note.
There was a huge shopping centre above the train station so we stopped for lunch at a Japanese Restaurant. It was over lunch that Leo says to me, "What do you reckon, seen one city seen them all. I think I'll see if we can change our flights and fly back tonight instead of staying in Seoul".
What does a person say to that?
All I could do was laugh.
The farmer was missing the farm.
The flights were changed so it was then to work out how we were going to get back to Incheon Airport. We walk out of the shopping centre and here is a bus that says Incheon Airport, we pay, jump on and away we go. We had the best of luck with transport in this country, it was so easy to get around.
It took us about an hour to get out of the city so I can say I have been to Seoul and snapped a couple of photos to prove it.
So there you have it, I guess you call that a whirlwind weekend away. We landed back in Jinan at midnight and were back home on the farm by 1.30am.
If South Korea isn't on your list, I suggest you add it.