In 2014, I read with interest an article about the Haeparang Trail, a 770 km walking route that stretches northward along the East Sea from Oryukdo Park in Busan to the Unification Observatory in Goseong, Gangwon-do. I became interested in the Blue Road footpath walk along the shoreline of Yeongdeok Country, Gyeongsangbuk-do, part of the 770 km Haeparang Trail.
Back then, I probably didn’t imagine that one day I would be walking down the trail myself..
영덕군 Yeongdeok is a small fishing town famous for snow crabs, but less accessible by public transport so far. I supposed that is why even though Yeongdeok’s Blue Road came in twelfth in KTO 2013 poll on top 100 tourist sites in South Korea, it might not be known to many.
영덕 블루로드 Yeongdeok’s Blue Road. Like the famous Jeju Olle Trails, Yeongdeok Blue road, a 64 km hiking trail that runs from Daege Park (Snow Crab Park) in the south nearly to the country border with Uljin in the north, is about “healing”. It’s all about the hills and wind, rustic fishing villages, vast blue sea and beautiful seashore.
There are 4 different trails. We studied it carefully because we didn’t have enough days to do all the trails so we have to pick my most favourite one (actually, I don’t think I can complete the entire 4 trails in one go keke). In the end, we picked the Light & Wind Promenade, a 17.5km trail that takes about 6 hours to complete.
Mountain path dreaming of the sea; walking is to live at the nature speed
About the Light & Wind Promenade Course. The Light & Wind Promenade starts from the fishing port of Ganggu to the Changpomal Lighthouse in the Sunrise Park, a Yeongdeok landmark: Ganggu Terminal – Ganggu Port – Geumjin Overbridge – Gobul Peak – Sunrise Campsite – Renewable Energy Exhibition Hall – Wind Farm – Sunrise Park
I did think of following the entire trail strictly, but I didn’t have confidence to complete 17.5 km in a day, nor even complete 17.5 km of walking since my entire holiday was of 20 days (need to spread the walking to other days hah).
In the end, we probably did only half the trail due to various logistics arrangement (e.g. how are we going to complete the trail with food for a few meals). Hence instead of from Ganggu Port, our trail started at our accommodation, The Stream Pension to the Sunrise Park). Even so, the Yeongdeok Blue Road remains my most favourite part of the 20-days in Korea, and I am so happy and satisfied to have walk down the blue road.
Transport to Yeongdeok. Before Yeongdeok, we were in Juwangsan National Park, which was lovely (though nothing can beat Yeongdeok in my heart). Logistically, it was probably insane. Thanks to KTO for their patience and assistance, as well as the helpful locals/ bus terminal auntie and bus driver uncles who made sure we got on the right buses (I don’t think anyone else would ever need to travel from Juwangsan National Park to Yeongdeok, but still):
We left Juwangsan National Park (815am; thank you Auntie at Bus Terminal, who triple-confirmed with us that we were heading towards Yeongdeok and not Andong), changed a bus, arrived at Jinbo (920am till 1015am – and we “shopped” at another supermarket just opposite of the entrance of Jinbo Bus Terminal (I counted, we probably supermarket shopped 11 times in 20 days hah), and arrived at Yeongdeok Bus Terminal. Took a bus from Yeongdeok Bus Terminal to Ganggu Port (the bus stops near a convenience store, and the Ganggu Market. The Ganggu Market is opposite of the Ganggu Port).
Famous crab for lunch. After much deliberation, we shared a crab for lunch! Eventually we thought it was a right decision because having a crab each would probably be too much a portion for us (though we decided to share one because of price). Must be our most expensive, yet most delicious meal for 20 days. Extremely fresh and tasty crab, side dishes and lunch view. (I didn’t eat in the below restaurant, but it is one of the most fancy one we came upon)
Our lovely host, JY’s husband, then picked us up at the Ganggu Port, or rather opposite of the Ganggu Pork at the Ganggu Market (entrance of Really Discount Mart), which we picked up more food.
Accommodation in Yeongdeok – The Stream Pension. I found The Stream Pension (http://www.thestreampension.com & https://www.instagram.com/yd_airstreamer/), a lovely designed pension with seaview and equally lovely hosts JY (who speaks English!) and her husband. I will write about the pension and our stay in another post, but some photos below first. Aside from the lovely design, another reasons I picked The Stream Pension is due to its location, which marks somehow the halfway of the 17.5 km trail between Ganggu Port and Sunrise Park.
Upon arriving at The Stream Pension, we took a stroll and chanced upon the road sign Sunrise Park is 3.9 km away, and so that’s the trail we followed the next day.
Our trail started from The Stream Pension, past the National Youth Marine Environment Center of Korea 해양한경체험센터 (which, in my opinion, has one of the loveliest spot for sea-viewing. It has a mobile washroom next to it too, which is important for hikers!), and arrived at the Sunrise Park. We covered some of the Wind Farm, and stayed overnight at the Sunrise Campsite too (will cover that in another post as well).
Aside from the most lovely coastal scenic view, light sunlight and breeze, another highlight of our hike (ok, more of leisure walk since we probably took 4 hours to complete that small stretch) was being invited to a picnic. We left the Stream Pension pretty late (past 1130am probably), after having a light lunch that we cooked up in the common kitchen in the Stream Pension. Not too long, we decided to take a break at one of the shelters with a great seaview. A group of koreans were having their picnic there, so we didn’t want to disturb. We sat by the edge, catching our breath, and drinking water. One of the ahjumma then offered us a huge tomato (to quest our thirst!) but we were shy to finish it off. So we cut it up to share with them (haha) but they then decided to share with us their lunch of Hoedeopbab/ raw fish with rice and vegetables (really yummy that I wished I wasnt shy and took up their offer for another bowl of it). We chit-chat with whatever-Korean-we-managed, shared the lovely view, took photos and..
I always love the mountains more than the sea. Germany’s Garmisch Partenkirchen is the image of my favourite mountain town, so much so that I was afraid to revisit the place, for fear that the perfect vision of GAP is no longer in existence.
But now, I have to say that the Blue Road is the image in my heart, in my memory, and I hope to be back some day. One day.
I still cannot imagine, that I’ve walked down the Yeongdeok Blue Road..
“Yeongdeok Blueroad, a road that embraces everything about Yeongdeok. I walked the road of my soul. A mountain path to dream of the ocean, a path of light and wind. Blueroad number 1.”
[Various information courtesy of KTO, Korea.net and Blueroad website; photos are mine]