Apr 7, 2012

chungju dam

After feeling tired and demotivated, I decided a 20km+ bike ride along the river would be a good idea, for some crazy reason. The weather isn't quite as cold today, the sun's shining and it's the weekend. It's time to start enjoying spring. And from my earlier visit to Tangeumdae park, I noticed there's a pretty lengthy bike path around Chungju that takes you to such wonderful spots as the Chungju dam, waterfalls and a national park. I opted to set my sights on whichever came first. And if you don't have a bike, there's lots of bikes available for rent, including (naturally) couple bikes!
The path, there weren't a lot of people out when I first started around 11, but a few hours later, on my way back, it was packed. And although there are nice red bike paths, you do get spit out onto highways for a few km to bike alongside traffic and pass over the railroad tracks. But there are plenty of signs and bikes spray painted on the road so it's hard to get lost.
 Beware, cars can and will drive anywhere and everywhere, even bike paths along the river.
 Unfortunately for the clever people that decided to drive on the bike path, they were thwarted by these stairs, and had to turn around. It started out as a nice leisurely bike, but then started getting a bit hardcore with the hills. Well, this is Korea, of course mountains everywhere can be expected. I just wasn't as psyched about feeling the burn while going up hills, as I was about leisurely winding around the river.
 Finally, after copious amounts of hills and stairs, I reached my destination, Chungju dam! OK, the pictures don't really do it justice, it's something you need to experience on your own. I seemed to be the only person that biked though, everyone else there looked like they drove, seeing as they had brought a ton of food and supplies with them.
And if you don't mind going up all of these stairs (or if you just drove up the mountain) you could walk out on this observatory over the dam! Taking a picture was more than enough for me though... Maybe some other time.
There's also a pretty nice park where you can use the exercise equipment, kick a ball around, lounge around, pick up food from the store, etc. Great place to bike and stop for a picnic, but the entire bike path was filled with perfect places to stop and rest or have a picnic.
Obligatory cow pic. My university's mascot is a cow, it's pretty fantastic and fitting for this area. I saw this farm on my way back and was actually stopped by some guy on a scooter who repeatedly thanked me for some reason (maybe because I'm a foreigner on a bike??). He had the official Good Chungju logo on his scooter and jacket, so maybe he was a city worker of some kind. Who knows?
People out golfing. The grass was pretty rough, so they were using balls that are much bigger than golf balls. It seemed more like a combination of croquet and golf. It was free to play though, you just needed to bring your own clubs and balls. All in all, a very nice (mostly) car/city free adventure. I'm definitely going to venture past the dam next time.

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