Thursday, September 10, 2015

why you should go to Gapado

Two weeks ago I wrote about my unexpected food outing on Gapa Island, and I mentioned how due to the sudden change of events, I would have to go back to really see the island.  Today was that day.
It was sunnier than the ferry ride last time!  BRB Jeju.
Gapado is a small island and honestly there is not much there in the sense of "touristy" attractions. Both times that I went, I really stood out being the only foreigner. There are no museums, no huge famous monuments, no amusement park. If you were to walk around the edge of the island, you would walk a total distance of 4.2 km (according to a giant map standing at the harbour gate).  Small, eh?

So why should you go?

Gapado is the world's first carbon free island (according to a different display in the harbour).  All vehicles on the island run on electricity.  As well, the island is mainly farm fields.  There are little "hamlets" on each side of the island but everything in between is green.  It's so calming to walk through.
View from the middle of the island back toward Jeju.  The tall "mountain" on the right is San Bang San.
There are some cute little restaurants to visit on the island and you can get freshly caught sea food--some caught by the Haenyeo.  It's a wonderful cultural experience.

Another reason?  Do you like hiking?  There are a series of trails called the Olle Trails that go around Jeju's edge.  Each trail is numbered with specific start and end points and a different difficulty rating.  This in itself is a huge attraction in Jeju and many people frequent the trails.  I recently got an Olle Trail Passport that allows me to collect stamps from a number of the trails upon completion.  One of these trails is on Gapado.  It's an easy trail and only 5k, but it's beautiful and relaxing--especially when the weather is clear (like today), and you can see San Bang San and Mount Halla from the coast.
The faint mountain in the background is Hallasan.  Today was clear, sometimes the clouds are so thick you see nothing.
The coast was so lovely to walk along!
Are you still not sold?  I have one more reason, and I personally think that it's the best one:  I have come to love meeting Korean tourists.  Just like last time, I was "adopted" by a group and despite the language barrier and our jilted conversations, we had a blast.  Seriously.  A couple of men saw me with my Olle Passport as I boarded the ferry and attempted conversation first.  They were doing the trail, too, and wanted to know how many I had done before.  When they found out it was my first one, they got excited with me.  A couple of others were walking the trail, too, and we soon were a group of 6.  What was really cool was that everyone was a stranger--except two of the men who were vacation buddies, I think.  But everyone was coming from different cities and age ranges, and yet we all walked the trail together.  It was so much fun.
Shortly after starting the walk, we documented it with a picture.
At the end, we were proud to have finished.
This is why I want to travel--to meet other people who, like me, want to share life together, even if only briefly. Maybe I'll run into them again, which would be a treat, but even if we don't meet again, it was fun for the moment.

This is also why I recommend Gapado.  Both times I met lovely people who were willing to share their time with me, even though we couldn't easily communicate.  That in itself makes the trip so much more than what it would have been.

If you get the chance, just get out and go.

Love and Hugs.

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