Spring is finally here!

Cherry Blossom Marathon Season

Training

You know what that means! I am challenging myself this year and trying out my first 10K. If anyone knows me, you know I hate exercise. I just never liked it. The closest I get to it is through salsa and other forms of dancing. But Dave and Matt are runners, and like to push me sometimes which is what I need. So the challenge is outdoing myself, since last year I ran the 5 k, got a medal and all (everyone did lol), and was proud of myself! On the other hand, running a 5K here is like a joke, because old ladies and children do it like it’s nothing. So though I was having my own Rocky Balboa moment in my head, so many people were horsing around while they ran. Which is great for them, but not so much for my self esteem lol.

Running Track in Korea

So I’ve been running morning or afternoons, at a track which makes it easier to figure out just how much I’m running. I feel slightly beat up from all this, and the lack of sleep is mostly from going to sleep late and not necessarily getting up in the morning. Seeing ajossis and ajummas running around the track faster then me, pushes me to keep going.

Gyeongju

I’m super excited to be heading to Gyeongju for the race. It will be around the lake and of course be filled with cherry blossom trees. It can’t get better then this! :

Gyeongju Marathon Start

maps

Click here for English info on Marathons in Korea: Waeguks got Runs 

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Spring Festivals

I really enjoyed the Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival last year. It was so beautiful and the stream just made the site so special! Spring is really short in Korea, especially in Daegu. You have to enjoy it fully before it disappears in a blink of an eye.There are various festivals to be checking out this spring. I hope to at least make 2, but unfortunately my schedule always seems to filling up with one thing or another. Here are links on more info:

Official Korea website – Korea Tourism Information

Korea Travel Notes : Offers Festival and Exhibits Information

Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival 2012

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Jinhae – Cherry Blossom Heaven

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Cherry Blossoms

While some Koreans were out voting for the National Assemblies election, Matt, Dave and I decided to visited the beautiful little city of Jinhae. It was a bit past peak season, but Jinhae is the place to go if you want to fall in love with cherry blossom trees, or bott kkott namu (벚꽃 나무) they are called. Watching of cherry blossom was introduced to Korea during Japanese rule. While Japan has been known to present countries with cherry blossom trees as gifts, it was also used as a means to claim occupied territory (source).

Jinhae History

Jinhae (진해구), located a 2 hour’s drive from Daegu, in a bay on Korea’s south coast. It’s a small city, of roughly around 170,000 people. The Japanese planted many cherry trees to beautify the city following their occupation of Korea as they simultaneously transformed Jinhae into a naval port. The port is still a famous spot in Jinhae, and hosts the Jinhae Gunhangjae (군항제), or Naval Port Festival. The festival has been commemorating Admiral Yi Sun-si (이순신) since 1952, a navy admiral who fought against the Japanese back in the 1500’s.  

Yeojwa Stream

Yeojwa Stream (여좌천) was by far my favorite spot! It is a popular couple’s place (::snort:: what isn’t in Korea?). It is also called “Romance Bridge”, which has been used as a shooting location for “Romance,” a drama starring Kim Ha-nul and Kim Jae-won.

Yeojwa Stream was number #17 in CNN’s 50 Beautiful places to Visit in Korea. It’s just beautiful, for a long stretch, a small stream is surrounded on both sides by cherry blossom trees. It encases the stream, and you feel like it’s snowing petals. So so romantic. At night, they apparently turn lights on and the blossoms glow agains the dark sky. Maybe next year, I’ll have to stop by and check it out ^_^ 

Jinhae Tower

Jinhae Tower is built on top of the small mountain called Je-Hwang Mountain (90m elevation) near the city center of Jinhae. There are 365 steps, called “year stairway”. We were brave enough to walk to the top. And it was sooooo worth it! We stopped at one point to sit and breathe in the pine trees and look at the cherry blossoms. Perfection!