S. Korea biking to Munsan on lifeday 25,443

Start of the 4 Rivers trail

After spending 24 hours in a windowless world yesterday (why does everyone shut the blinds on aeroplane) and OK 8 hours of which was stuck in Doha airport with no windows but it did have a 25 metre indoor pool if you remembered to put your costume in your carry on bag – I didn’t 🙁  I must also remember to carry a fine pen for filling in the 3 landing forms.

Arriving in Incheon airport I failed on both of my customary tasks when first arriving in a new country, both reflect rather badly on Korea. First job is to hit the ATM’s all my cards failed on all machines, I had revert to the expensive way of changing my £ notes 🙁 Next job was to get a SIM for my dongle or phone both failed miserably, all they want you to do is rent kit, tempting you with expensive unlimited data. Not much use when you aren’t returning to the airport! My worst experience of any country in the world. So much for hi-tech Korea!

I was picked up by Incheon Airport Best Guesthouse (using WeChat on the airport WiFi) so soon had my bike box in my room 10 floors up.

This morning I biked the  6 miles, all wrapped up, to Unseo station, on lovely cycle tracks, thinking I might spy some cash machines or phone stockists but to no avail, although I did procure a European plug to fit on my extension lead

The train was ultra smart, although it’s a steep climb up the 3 flights to the platform. 36 minutes later I arrived at Cheonga Int’l City Station and ready for the adventure.I rode around to the

Ara lock stamping box

I rode around to the Ara West Sea lock and bought a passport (nope the cash machines don’t work there either). There were loads of cyclists there today since it was a sunny Saturday. After stamping it at the first lock I was away 🙂 the cycle track is wide and really smooth, very easy to follow so no GPS required 🙂 Where the canal meets the river I left the 4 Rivers route to head north so I could visit the Dora Observatory. Alas, it wasn’t to be as the instructions Mark gave me (and no online maps) I somehow ended up in the wrong Paju 🙁 However, one good came out of this I found a huge supermarket with an array of ATM’s one of which finally behaved and released a pile of notes, but only with my Barclays account the others still failed to work. To celebrate I devoured two large scoops of very nutty ice cream.

Still the old ways

Once I realised my error, after chatting to a pair of MTB’ lads I decided to carry on North with the intention of starting The DMZ trail (interestingly I could see I was quite close by seeing the trail on the phone but with no maps). I was beginning to worry a bit when no hotels appeared and anyone I asked looked at me a bit weird 🙁 Eventually in Musan someone understood and pointed up at a huge building, The Royal Motel is up on the eighth floor and with the key you are given an interesting bag of goodies for those who are here for very short stays 😉

A lovely ride, although the cycle paths soon revert to the English variation with tree root bumps and disappearing.all the time once you leave the 4 rivers way.

Strava says 44.9 miles but there is an additional 6 to add at the start.

Pictures here