Sunday, April 13, 2014

Public Bikes in Daejeon

Spend any time walking around Daejeon and you will pass a free* bicycle station. There are 144 bike stations with over 1900 bikes distributed around the city. Their purpose, to provide a convenient green public transport alternative for the citizens of Daejeon. I've been wanting to use one of the bikes for a while, but the last few months have just been so cold. Now that spring is here and the weather is getting warmer, Jihyeon and I thought we would grab a couple of the bikes and cycle along the river.

*free for the first hour, 500won (50c) for each 30minutes after that, and then 1000won ($1) for every 30 minutes over 3 hours. If you go over your free hour it will get charged to your phone. 

There are no bike helmets provided, but there doesn't appear to be any laws regarding wearing helmets in Korea when riding bicycles/scooters. In Australia I always wear a helmet, but since we would be riding on a designated cycle path and not doing a million miles an hour, I wasn't too worried about wearing one. 


Don't speak or read Korean? Don't worry. There is an English menu you can use to check out a bicycle. Just hit the bottom in the bottom right corner of the touch screen.

To hire a bike you need to
1. Select your phone provider.
2. Enter your mobile number.
3. Enter your ARC number.
4. Hit the button to get the security code sent to your phone.
5. Enter the 6 digit code sent via SMS.
6. Select the bike you want to hire
7. On the handle bars of the bicycle is a computer with 4 buttons and a small screen. Press button #3
8. Push the bike forward to remove it from its station.



Bicycle selection screen.



Use your muscles to push the bike forward.



This is the bicycle computer. Press key #4 to cycle through the timer/distance/speed modes on the LCD display.



The map of where I am and near by bike stations, represented as pie charts to show how many bicycles are at the station.



And we are off and racing.



Past expo park.



stopped for a snack.



and we are off again.





Some people fishing.



Jihyeon in la la land.



This is kind of interesting. This is a weir. In the wet season when it rains they can drop the entire length of the weir wall so it lays down flat on the concrete. It is held up by what look like giant air bags. Last year I saw this when it was laying flat on the concrete and I wondered how they lifted the wall back up.





More people fishing.





A drain. Fascinating I know.





The KTX bridge that takes the train north towards Seoul.



Some guys playing baseball on a Sunday afternoon in the park.





We then turned around and started heading back.









We decided to cross to the other side of the river and take a slightly different rout home.





Passing the weir again.



Some people having fun on paddle boats in the river near expo park.



And... the expo bridge.



It was a good day. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cherry Blossoms and Donghaksa Temple

On Saturday last weekend Jihyeon and I caught the bus to Gyeryongsan National Park, a national park on the outskirts of Daejeon. The plan was to see the cherry blossoms and visit Donghaksa temple. The temple was originally built in 713, destroyed 1728 and rebuilt in 1814. 

We caught the 107 bus that departed from just around the corner from our apartment. It seemed like everyone in Daejeon had the same idea as us and wanted to go see the cherry blossoms. Packed like sardines, we managed to squish onto the second bus that came along. I felt sorry for the people we left standing at other bus stops as we whizzed past. <soup nazi voice> "NO BUS FOR YOU" </voice>.


We finally arrived, but it was sooo busy the bus driver dared not go all the way to the bus stop. He kicked us out and we had to walk the rest of the way.... about 1km. The cherry blossoms lined the street most of the way and there were food stalls and pop up restaurants everywhere. 


One of the many pop up seafood restaurants. 


Some games and entertainment.


One of the many snack stalls. Nothing too scary here. Just chicken and sausages on a stick. A stick of chicken will set you back 3000won ($3). 


This on the other hand it a bit different. At the front is Beondegi (번데기) which is boiled or steamed silkworm pupae, and towards the back is Daseuligi (다슬기) which is a kind of sea snail which is boiled or steamed. Daseuligi is served with the shell, and the snail is picked out using a tooth pick and the shell discarded. 


We kept walking along the road under the canopy of cherry blossoms. 


We didn't get far before we stopped off at another food cart. This time they were selling Hotteok (호떡) which is a Korean style pancake with various kinds of fillings and normally served in winter. They cost 1000 won ($1) each. 



They also had some kind of fusion food, a combination of western and Korean food. They were kind of like a pizza pocket, but instead of pastry the outer shell was made of rice cake. Normally I'm not a huge fan of Korean fusion food, but these went down fairly well and were 1500won ($1.50) each. 


We quickly found a place to sit outside a small private temple and consumed our food ^^. 




We continued down the road further, wondering how much further until we reached the gate to the national park and beyond it, the temple. 



We finally reached the small town at the entry to the national park. 



We snapped a couple of pictures. 



And then bought some tickets. 


With tickets in hand, we greeted the gate keeper with a cheery 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo) and continued up the path.  


For those who may be interested, here is a map of Gyeryongsan National Park.


Once we entered the national park, that was the end of the cherry blossoms. I'd like to come back here again in autumn as all the trees in the park are deciduous and I imagine it would look pretty amazing. 


A large gateway along the path to the temple. 



We stopped and had a snack.



Finally, we arrived. There are a few different temples here. Some are quite new and modern (they have what look to be offices built under them). 





And here is Donghaksa temple. They had a lot of coloured lanterns hung up outside the temple so I couldn't get a wide angle shot of the temple. 



Lots of tiny Buddhas decorating a wall. 


And some flowers. 



This pagoda was built in 723. The base of it has been replaced, but the top stones are still the originals. You can see all the coloured lanterns hanging in preparation for Buddhas birthday.



A gift shop built under a bell tower. 


We then hiked back to the bus stop and waited for a bus. Once we had waited, we then waited some more..... Finally a bus arrived, took a few people, and then we waited again for another bus. Eventually, around an hour later, we finally got on a bus and headed home. All up it was a good day out.