I’m not entirely sure why we stopped in Chuncheon. The guide book author made a passing remark about eating there and it was on the way to our next destination. We found a nice motel room with a balcony, run by a friendly young couple. Note: a motel does not mean a room with an exterior entrance, as it often does in North America. Motel is an inexpensive hotel catering to young couples, and married men with their mistresses. They are generally not sketchy, but don’t ask for a twin.

One of the ‘must do’ activities in Chuncheon is to eat dakgalbi, spicy chicken. An entire street is devoted to dakgalbi restaurants. As soon as we stepped onto the street, a woman came and pulled at Janet’s arm and started talking quickly in Korean to lead us to her restaurant, thus thwarting my plan to look around before selecting a restaurant. We followed her in and our usual menu challenges were absent as the woman simple asked, “Two?” When eating on this street you are eating dakgalbi.

The stove was lit below our enormous personal cast iron skillet and hurriedly filled with a mountain of half-frozen chicken, gnocchi-like pasta, spicy sauce, cabbage and a few other vegetables. It all cooked down to a small mound, but we were still unable to finish it or the compulsory set of kim chi that accompanies every meal. We were also provided with aprons to keep our clothes clean. My apron was spotless, my shirt was not. Somehow, four spots of hot sauce avoided the plaid barrier to hit their target, my white shirt. The meal was tasty and filling, especially with a bottle of soju to wash it down with.


Fueled with dakgalbi from the previous night, we rented bicycles to casually bike around the lake. Not content with the scenery near the city, we headed south toward the countryside. Two wrong turns, a poor map and some not-so-helpful directions lead us up a series of hills. At one point we cycled over a hill to a dead end in a rice paddy. We never made it to our rural destination, but we did manage to find a pleasant and flat path on our return.

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