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Drink – cool water, fruit juice & rice wine

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Along with the captain who was holding up a pink umbrella, I got on the bus bound for Pocheon together with people who loved to travel. Let us visit places that will provide relaxation in our life.

Hantangang Trail

Our tour of the walking trail began as we listened to the explanations of our guide whose nickname was “Haepumdal.” ‘‘Hantan.Imjingang River Geopark is a geological park formed for the first time in Korea, focusing on the river. In terms of location, it includes Hantangang River and part of Imjingang River located on the downstream of Hantangang River.” The explanation about our destination was summed up that way. Our guide shared with us her experiences using various dialects, because she lived in several places thanks to her father who was a professional soldier. She stimulated our curiosity, as if we were listening to a fairytale told by our grandfather. Ironically, her stories deepened our curiosity further, and we waited for more interesting stories along the trail.

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The first thing we noticed after getting to our destination was a bridge. We automatically raced toward the bridge. The only thing that stopped our walk was one word from our guide: “Stop.” The number “6.4km” seemed to have stimulated our desire to win and also accelerated our speed. After that, we took a leisurely walk as we fully listened to our guide’s explanation. Naturally, our captain’s held-up pink umbrella became our reference point. Along the “Meonguri Canyon,” pillar-shaped columnar joints made of basalt were formed along the river after lava flowed and cooled off along the river some several hundreds of thousands of years ago. As a result of water erosion, the eroded rocks reminded us of bird’s wings. Green plants along the riverside seemed to be covering the wings, along with the trees and thickets. We were awed by several natural phenomena, including the columnar joints, which have been created over a long period of time. Because the canyon was not easily visible due to trees with branches stretching out in all directions, we naturally directed our attention to nearby places.

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One tourist shouted, “This is motherwort!” She told us, “It’s good for improving our appetite in summer.” Another tourist shared his experience of fishing in Gangwon-do Province, and others told us of their tour of Dokdo Island. The tourist who shouted motherwort exclaimed, “This is wild raspberry!” and handed me two fully ripe raspberries. It was really sweet. From this group of tourists, I heard the news on the opening of an expressway between Guri and Pocheon. Next year, we will have different stories. I heard walking sounds over the wooden bridge. I liked the walking sounds over gravel, and I learned about umbrella plant and amaranth as well.

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After walking along the trail lit by sunlight in the midst of the whispering tree leaves, we arrived at Bidulginang Falls. The place is also famous as a filming location of a popularly aired TV drama. One peculiar point was that we had to walk down to see the falls surrounded by rocks, instead of looking up to see the dropping falls. Around the mid-section of the stairs going downward, we stopped temporarily to see a mystical water color peeping between trees. The water was a soft jade color. The jade-colored water collected under the falls and the wing-shaped columnar joints surrounding the falls were a sight to behold. Our hearts, which were beating fast after 2 hours of trekking, stabilized at this point. Many people were busy taking selfies while exclaiming “Here is still good!” but I decided to capture a video of the beautiful scenery. We could truly appreciate the refreshing falls as we listened to the sound. Even though the falls dropped thinly, the sound was very strong.

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We finished the walking trail like that and drank the mineral water we got from our captain as a souvenir on the bus. The water bottle had the writing “Pocheon Mineral Water.” We were surprised to learn that “Pocheon’s water is clean.”

Apple Island

After passing Hwajeogyeon Pond by car, we came face to face with the scene of a giant girl serving water. The place is Apple Island. Tourists can taste apple juice made of homegrown apples. Behind the café is an apple farm called Ilsan Farm, which has been operated for several generations. The major cultivation areas of apple are changing depending on the changing climate. Pocheon has become a major producer of apples at present. The apples looked very red and fully ripe, so the twig of the apple broke when I unconsciously pushed one apple upward. The generous owners of the farm, who looked like a young couple, smiled and told me to take it as a souvenir. I felt healthy after quenching my thirst with apple juice while looking at the wide field and sitting at the café decorated with small and cute ornaments. I thought it would be nice to give apple cookies as a gift.

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In the midst of this quiet mood, I heard the beeping sound of a mic. It was an unfamiliar voice. He introduced himself as the head of the village and told us that he felt sorry we did not drop by Hwajeogyeon. The head of the village and our guide promised that, if we get another opportunity, we would visit the village for sure. I felt very happy with the cute head of the village, who cared a lot about his village.

Address : 72, Bugwon-ro 404beon-gil, Gwanin-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Website : Click here

Herb Island – Foot bath experience

A foot bathing experience lasts for 30 minutes to relieve fatigue from tired body after trekking. The hot pack draped over the shoulders will relieve fatigue from the shoulders. Immersing your feet in scented warm water will make you close your eyes unconsciously. At this time, if you drink a cup of herbal tea, you will feel like you are in paradise. It is a magical place that will make your tired feet smile. Frankly speaking, the last massage I got was a little painful. Still, the pain was temporary and short. The fatigue that felt heavy on my shoulders and my head disappeared immediately, and I felt refreshed. A foot bath before going to bed is always right.

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Address : 35, Cheongsin-ro 947beon-gil, Sinbuk-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Website : click here

Chatting before going to bed

Each person started to reveal their treasures from their bag, breaking down the barrier. Each region, particularly the ones with pure water, seemed to have representative liquor, such as Leegangju, Solsongju (traditional Korean Liquor) and Pocheon Idong Makgeolli (rice wine). The first conversation between people who loved to travel began with marriage. They tend to think a lot about marriage. The combination of Makgeolli and bread is unexpectedly good. The combination of grain wine and grains tend to maximize the nutty flavor. Accordingly, Idong Makgeolli and bread seem to go well with each other. Leegangju, which is flavored with pear, ginger, and cinnamon, goes well with fried chicken, whereas Solsongju with cheesecake gives a pleasant melting feel inside the mouth. Song Wha Baekilju liquor goes well with lamb chops, and Gamhongno is perfect with vanilla ice cream. As we talked about Korean traditional liquor while enjoying makgeolli and crisp green onion pancake, our knowledge of Korean traditional liquor widened into the night.

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Blue Hill Blueberry

At this place, we also met a young farmer. Introducing himself as a “lazy farmer,” he explained his motivation for operating his farm as well as his future goal, and his confidence was very impressive. He wished many more people would come to his farm to eat fresh blueberries that are free of chemicals. Visitors can harvest 400g of blueberries with their experience time and eat as much as they like. He emphasized that the general public will know the difference between his blueberries and those sold in markets after tasting his blueberries. He even offers shaved ice with sweetened blueberries after the harvest experience. I could feel the generosity of the 60s from the farmer, who looked like he was in his 30s. He majored in IT but decided to work in agriculture. He said he used to wear glasses, but he stopped wearing them after eating blueberries, smiling proudly. I took photos of people who were loading harvested blueberries into their plastic container while eating berries at the speed of light. While we were enjoying the shaved ice full of sweetened blueberries, we saw little guests wearing a yellow uniform. A kindergarten came to the farm for an experience-oriented learning. The farmer asked the children to harvest berries coated with white fog. All of a sudden, yellow chicks walking about the blueberry farm came to view. He also explained that he was making blueberry tea with dried blueberry leaves and learning how to make blueberry ice cream from Herb Island. If you are looking for a place where you can eat organic blueberries, or if you visit Pocheon, we strongly recommend seeing this lazy farmer.

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Address : 126-47, Oksu-ro 327beon-gil, Changsu-myeon, Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do

Website : Click here

Epilogue

“All you have to be by the time you’re 23 is yourself.” It’s a line by Ethan Hawke from the movie Reality bites, and it came to mind as I was talking with people who loved to travel in this unfamiliar city Pocheon. In this city, I saw youthfulness unexpectedly. In particular, it was quite an experience to meet a young farmer who was confident enough to invite us to come and see him, a lazy farmer who followed the principle of nature instead of enduring the noise and stress of the city for survival. Then, as I looked at the individual characteristics of each tourist, I also felt that they resembled the farmer. Age 23 is merely a number, and Pocheon is no exception. The process of “discovering the identity of Pocheon” is probably a most beautiful one, like the youth who are in search of self.

 

 

 

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