Visit Korea Year 2011 promotes Korea in many ways. One of them is the free tourist buss for foreigners. They offer trips to Busan (부산), Gyeongju (경주) and Jeonju (전주). Lotta being active like always, booked us tickets and there we went, last weekend. The bus left on time, at eight, even though the guide guy was very late. He also didn’t know how to speak. But the bus was comfy.
The weather was great (+32 degrees) and the Hanok village (hanok is a traditional Korean house) was full of beautiful houses and galleries and crafts. By coincidence they were having a traditional music festival. It was great, I liked the traditional storyteller/singer kids the best. Here is a video Lotta took of the kid who won the talent competition.
We were planning on staying at Jeonju Guesthouse right next to Hanok Village. For some reason it was over booked, even though we had a reservation, so we ended up staying in a very pretty small hotel, upstairs of a hat boutique.
In the evening we went to search for dinner. We wanted sub but didn’t find, so we settled with Pizza hut. Surprising enough, that seems to be the only place in Korea you can’t buy beer with your food! There is a nice shopping are in Jeonju, full of young people and colorful shops. And their Daiso was huge.
Jeonju people were nice and talkative – they didn’t speak any English, but they didn’t let that bother them. Some of them we understood, too. Like the guy who helped us to find a naengmyon (냉면) (cold noodles) restaurant. We popped in one restaurant to ask if they served naengmyon, which they didn’t. One of the customers, an ahjussi, run after us and told us he was gonna show us the way to the best naengmyon restaurant of the city and it was a five minutes walk from the first place – in Korean of course. On the way he showed us his own store, which explained why he went through the trouble of walking us there. It was right next to the nengmyon shop. He told the restaurant keeper to serve us the best they got and probably with endless refills, because that’s what we got. And it was delicious!
Another random encounter was an American university professor and poet and his wife, who we met at a souvenir shop. He was very friendly and had his roots in Sweden. His wife told me I look just like Taru.
Sunday morning we headed for Doekjin Park, famous for it’s huge lotus pond. On the way we grabbed some sushi from Home Plus. I think we were the only foreigners in the whole shop. Jeonju buses are pretty convenient and the system was easy enough to figure out, with some help from tourist information lady. T-money works there as well, which is great. Doekjin Park was nice and serene – even though they had a wrestling competition going on there. Sympathetic Christian ladies wanted us to join their church and talked with us for 45 minutes, even though they didn’t speak a word of English.
Jeonju is famous for hanji, beautiful handmade paper, so we couldn’t leave the city without getting some. I bough six sheets for 12 000 won and I’m gonna hang them on my wall in Finland. Very beautiful!
Thank you Jeonju!
PS. I’ve never been stared at so much as in Jeonju. I felt like the only white person on Earth. I can honestly say Jeonju has not been spoiled by tourism yet.