Destination: Taean-gun (Chungcheongnam-do)
You won’t confuse this area of Chungcheongnam-do with an active, happening getaway. That said, a night in a pension may be the cure for what ails you. The word pension implies a retiree’s monthly income, but can also refer to a family-owned guest houses not unlike a summer cottage or a bed-and-breakfast (without the breakfast, however). They’re a pleasant shift from a cheap love motel, albeit at a significantly higher price point. Thanks goes to an unnamed friend of Kiwi’s who had a reservation they ended up passing on to us.
It was made painfully clear within the first five minutes – you need a car to get around. Arriving at the bus terminal meant waiting for a half-hour for a bus to take us halfway there. No car? You’ll be relying on the graciousness of a pension host to get you to your pension and otherwise around town. Bus stops are placed around the town to give the impression that public transportation exists, but no buses were ever seen in the hours of walking around and exploring. Arguably, that’s exactly the point – the goal here isn’t to travel, but to relax. Anmyeon-do is close by, but we’ll get there another day.
Within a few meters walking of our pension was a greenhouse – we never did meet who ran the place, but it was pretty.
Something about very colorful flowers that called for the black-and-white treatment.
Behind the swing is a lake – not much to see there, but the swing faces the pensions and an otherwise relaxing scene. Definitely a romantic spot.
Speaking of romantic spots… What you might expect inside a pension – complete with a mosquito net. Not including a decent-sized deck, the place was about the size of a small apartment.
After settling in, Kiwi and I headed out for a walk to the nearby beach:
One of the more distinctive pensions among the dozens we passed along the way to Mageompo (마검포) Beach.
While the sunset on the beach wasn’t exactly spectacular, the sunset over the rice paddies was nice.
Apparently there’s a tradition to grill samgyeopsal (pork belly meat) on the deck’s charcoal grill. Despite being told to buy everything in advance, a nearby convenience store was well-stocked with frozen meat, charcoal, beer, and some backup ramyeon just in case.
With dinner complete and cleaned up, we turned our attention to the sky – yes, Virginia, there are stars in South Korea. You’ve just got to get out to the middle of nowhere and away from the light pollution. We had the best luck right next to the lake, although it’s been a long time since I first learned the constellations! If you miss the sight of stars, consider that one saving grace of the area – being out in the boonies does have some benefits.
The next morning, we did a little walking and exploring around the area – I love the look on this guy.
Here there be giant… flowers? Nah – just some beauties growing towards the sky.
The aforementioned lake, complete with a wooden boat that had better never enter the water again. At least one fisherman was angling as we walked around the lake – with nothing in walking distance, we meandered briefly and soon headed back.
Just one more of the beautiful plants around the area.
Later that afternoon, our pension host was kind enough to give us a ride back to town… sort of… Keep your eyes peeled for the next post – Destination: Anmyeon-do Recreational Forest.
Ratings (out of 5 taeguks): How do I rate destinations?
Ease to arrive:
(If relying on public transportation or taxis)
Worth the visit:
Directions to Taean-gun: Take a bus to Anmyeon-do from the Express Bus Terminal or Nambu Bus Terminal in Seoul (more seem to leave from the latter), or anywhere in Korea for that matter. If renting a car, your GPS is king. Once at Anmyeon-do, start from said bus terminal – the area is your oyster. There are no directions to the pensions to offer – get those from the pension owner when you make reservations, and specifically request a pick-up from the Anmyeon-do terminal. It’ll save you a lot of hassle.
© Chris Backe – 2011
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