We’ll come clean right away. If you camp in the wild like us, a shower becomes a luxury that we don have and after some time we don’t smell like roses anymore despite our best efforts to rub ourselves clean with moist cleaning tissues.
The availability of showers are limited to us; only in a hotel or an campsite. Note that we mean campsites with a shower. But now we had a very different kind of warm shower in a different sense. Or is it?
We’re member of Warm Showers, an online community of cyclists for cyclists to help one another to provide a place to sleep. This can be a bed in a spare bedroom or a couch or even just a place in the garden to pitch your tent.
The whole system is based on mutual hospitality. No money involved.
We have had many guests in the few years we’re member as hosts, but we never were guests ourselves because we’re bad at planning. Still it seemed to us a great option to stay at Korean cyclists and so we ended up at Mook and Ahgie on Wednesday evening.
These two people in their forties cycled through half of Europe and now live in a small village where all other residents are over sixty. Their house is a wonderful authentic Korean house and we got a warm shower, both literally as figuratively. They live near a nature reserve, the Upo Wetlands, a swamp area where Ahgie works in a bird sanctuary and late in the evening we had a walk in that area to look at fireflies in the darkness. It is a remarkable thing to see, those fluorescent flies flying around and over your head or plainly in front of you.
Thursday morning we left our stuff at Mook and Ahgie and were brought to the bus terminal by Mook from where we went to Daejeon by bus, subway and express train.
In Deajeon live Min Jin and Jeung Eun who I know through my work. Both ladies spoiled us extremely with a big and delicious Korean lunch and a visit to Jjimjilbang, a Korean bathhouse.
A short tour around a Jjimjilbang: there are separate bathrooms (mokyoktang) for men and women and a communal space where they can relax while dressed in a cotton shirt and short. In the bathrooms you can find cold, warm and hot baths, showers and steam cabins a room to change clothes. In the communal space you’ll find heated chambers or “ovens” if you will, an ice chamber, a restaurant, pc’s, tv’s. There are also sleeping spaces which are separated.
What a leisure! All the dirt, sweat and other filth got washed or steamed away and once again we smelled like roses!
After a visit to the apartment of Min Jin, we headed back to Changnyeung, where Mook and Ahgie will collect us. We first went to their friends house which is an old school building.
They have a pottery and a podium where music is played. We got delicious Korean pancakes, drank mak gul ri (a Korean rice wine) and one of their friends sang some Korean songs for us accompanied by a guitar and harmonica which was very good.
The whole day felt like one giant warm shower (or bath if you will).
This morning we got onto our bicycles again we hope to reach Busan on Saturday. There we’ll take the ferry to Fukuoka in Japan.
But we’re not the only ones to go to Busan. We’ll reach it together with Tapah. A tropical storm...