A Coastal Adventure!

It’s the weekend!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am that it’s Saturday. We all decided to play hooky today and get a much needed break from work and have a little fun. And boy did we have fun!!!

As Sunny’s birthday was Thursday, and we were so swamped with work, we didn’t get to celebrate much so we celebrated again today. We hit some of Sunny’s favorite spots and it was just fine by me.

We started the day bright and early with an 8 AM departure from Phoenix Park. We began our journey towards the east with the ultimate destination being Gangneung (the eastern coast of Korea).

We stopped for an amazing Korean brunch along the way. Fish…kimchi…the traditional fixin’s and “hangover soup.” No hangover to cure but it was still yummy!

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The rare collection of random fermenting alcohol greeted us on our way out. I’m not really sure if you drink it…and I wasn’t quite up for finding out.

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The restaurant was located on a quaint little street corner across from one of the many beautiful rivers that flow through Pyeongchang. It truly amazes me how much water and how many mountains there are here. You really do feel like you’re in a fairy land.

The bridges are also spectacular. Everywhere you look there’s one…hovering over a meandering stream. It’s majestic!

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And there’s always the local store selling some sort of dried fish. We actually had this in the “hangover soup.” It was quite good.

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Our next stop took us to the Daegwallyeong Samyang Ranch. Located on the hills of Daegwallyeong 850 to 1,470 meters above sea level, Samyang Ranch is the largest highlands farm in Asia.

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There are so many attractions at this place, it was hard to keep track. Such an amazing experience as there was something new to enjoy every time you turned around.

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We got to get up close and personal with some very LARGE windmills. And boy were they spectacular. I’ve only ever seen them from far away and to be up close to them made me feel so small.

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The sound as the wind “whooshes” by you as the huge blades pushes through the air was amazing! I really can’t describe the sound or how it felt to be near them.

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Cotswold was actually a little scared but braved the “blow you over” breeze and the “bitter” cold for a quick photo shoot. I totally get why these things are located on the top of tall mountains!!

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There are lots of different animals at the Ranch, including a special area for the sheep, known as the Daegwallyeong Sheep Farm. This is the only sheep farm in Korea, so we were pretty lucky to have visited.

Apparently 200 sheep graze leisurely on vibrant green pastures spanning over 204,960 square meters…but they weren’t out today. Just the little buggers who greeted us with warm “bleets” and a smile.

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We also ran into some ostriches who greeted us in anticipation of being fed. Alas, we had nothing so they lost interest pretty quickly.

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I have to say, the cow was the biggest hit of them all! Ji-Hyun was lucky enough to ride shotgun. Now two members of our team have ridden cows during our journey.

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Throughout our visit to the farm we strolled the trails enjoying the scenery and each other’s company. We’re all really starting to get close…it still amazes me how close we’ve become in just 2 short weeks.

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We ended our glorious adventure at the Ranch with one last photo. Moo!

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Our next stop took us to all the way east to Gangneung. This is the site of the Coastal Cluster for the 2018 Winter Olympics. You can certainly tell the Olympics are coming! There are signs and Olympic rings everywhere.

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Oh and there are cherry blossoms too!!! YIPPEE!! We were so excited! The past few days we’ve seen several blossoms starting to come out but we hadn’t seen any this full yet. And this was pushing the end of the blooming season.

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It was truly beautiful!

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Our visit to Gangneung also provided a visit to the beach. I honestly have never thought about a beach in Korea, but considering a darn good amount of the country is surrounded by water it makes sense. I’m hardly good at geography in my own country let alone 7,000 miles away. 🙂

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The beach was stunning! I see why people come here in the summertime. The sand is pristine and the beaches are surrounded by the most beautiful evergreen trees. No palm trees here.

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Of course there are evergreen trees, and then the random “large metal tree” of the steel variety.

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The group took a group shot to prove we were there. Notice Justin is missing. He decided to abandon us for his bike ride and a trip around Pyeongchang town. We did send him on his way with his letter in tow. Fortunately he had no issues and joined us back at the hotel later in the afternoon.

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We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. Again, the food was fantastic! There’s just so much to try…I don’t think I’ll ever get to experience it all.

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Buckwheat noodles in a kimchi broth. Yummy! Honestly I have never been a big fan of kimchi, but I’ve never had kimchi like I have had in Korea. I think I’m hooked. I’m just not quite sure I’ll be able to get anything like it at home.

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Following lunch we made our last stop of the day. Sunny’s favorite…Terarosa Coffee.

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This place was spectacular! The building itself was nestled in the woods…right across the road from the beach. It was made up of mostly windows so everywhere you looked you could see nature outside.

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Besides the view the coffee and snacks were great! Pain au chocolat and a cappuccino. Yummy!

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Oh and a little coffee purchase as well. Rookie mistake on my part. Each bag (which was less than a pound of beans) was KRW 22,000. OYE!! That’s about $22 per bag. Alas. I’m going to enjoy it when I get home. Vince – get ready for some yummy coffee!

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We sat on the 2nd floor balcony and enjoyed our coffee, snacks and good conversation. The laughter was in abundance…as it seems to be much of the time these days.

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We all really do get on very well and I swear I’ve laughed more these past 2 weeks than I have in a long time. Don’t get me wrong…I laugh a lot in my regular life, but we’ve laughed A LOT!!! Antonio enjoyed a little smell of the purchased roast.

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Alas, after our coffee we headed back to our hotel. Time to get to work and get ready for our dress rehearsal with the County. We need to prepare our final presentation for review with them on Monday with our final presentation on Thursday. We also have to write our findings and recommendation report all by Wednesday evening. No pressure! Ha! It was definitely worth it to get out a bit today as we have a ton of work to do. But we all needed the break! And it was well worth it.

Time to sign off for now…lots of work to do before the week starts. Goodnight!

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