Going to the Rock/Island with Many Names (Day 2 of 3)

After the very long first day, we had to wake up bright and early for the breakfast. Most of us weren’t too happy with the breakfast selection: tofu, rice, a noodle dish, vegetables, kimchi, and a pork & carrot dish. It wasn’t the best of breakfasts, but I ate it…unlike some of the people. We were scheduled to load up on the buses at 8am to go somewhere “on the other side” of the island.

That is the legitimate slope of the mountain…and people have gardens set up there. **props**

Our first stop was at a smaller mountain. Most of the people walked up to the top to take some pictures. I didn’t want to strain my ankle too much (especially since it was an unpaved path) so I chilled with my friends who also didn’t want to hike up there.

There was some lady/store near the entrance who had this little Pomeranian dog in a tiny fence enclosure (no food no water)

After that, we loaded back onto the buses and headed to another part of the island. They kept saying we were going to ‘trek’ up to a lighthouse and then go somewhere for lunch. The ‘trek’ included bridges and pathways along the sides of the cliffs alongside the ocean, a TALL spiral staircase up the side of the mountain, and walks on unpaved and paved surfaces. It was a VERY long walk. Even though my right calf muscle had begun to atrophy from my ankle sprain (it’s 1-2cm smaller than my left calf with significantly less muscle mass), I finished in the first groups of people. (By the way, I had wrapped/braced my ankle beforehand.)

the beginning of the trek. That white column in the back? that’s the spiral staircase–made me (and others) feel dizzy. The water was stunning!

We never did walk to the lighthouse but instead headed straight (well AROUND the side of the island) to the port for lunch. We ended up back at the original port…and eating at the same restaurant. And I was SO not happy about that. Our lunch this time was a spicy mixture of sea food and pork; vegetarians ate at a different restaurant. A few of us left lunch a little early and did some quick shopping. **As per Korean culture, it was unstated but expected of us to buy gifts/candies for our coworkers.** Then we met at the docks to head to the island Korean’s call Dok-do (독도).

I made sure to snag this pic through the ferry window–just in case we weren’t able to land: Dokdo (Korean name) Takeshima (Japanese name) Liancourt Rocks (neutral name)

The ferry wasn’t full but, aside from us and one school field trip, there were a lot of elderly Koreans on board. We were VERY lucky and able to land; only 20% of ferries can land due to the weather and waves. We stopped on a cement pavilion alongside the island where everyone pulled out cameras for pictures. We were only allowed to stay docked for 20 minutes and then we all had to board and head back to the island called Ulleungdo (울릉도).

This is the landing we stood on (can’t actually ‘touch’ the island) and the ferry

Back on the island, we were treated to practically the best dinner ever: bulgogi (불고기)! It’s one of Korea’s famous dishes but it’s also one of the most expensive. It’s beef Korean barbeque; however this one was more special because these cows were raised on local grass. It was divine! I did a bit more shopping for souvenirs for my principal and vice principal with my friends before we boarded the buses to go back to the resort.

I was too excited to eat it, so I didn’t get my own picture…found this on the internet

At the resort, we had about 30 minutes, again, to freshen up before heading back to for a meeting. This time we learned about Japan’s position on Takeshima and other global regulations on islands/rocks. It was definitely more interesting than the first night. It lasted a little longer than the previous night, but still earlier than projected. After that, most people met up in groups to hang out and/or drink for the night. I hung out with my friends for a bit but called it a night around 11:30pm. ^_^ (Unlike some people that stayed out until after 3am(!), I wanted to be alive for the last day on the island.)

Feel free to check out my Ulleungdo Album on Flickr. ^_^

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