Reaching the scenic Seogwipo, we checked into our hotel, Heyy Seogwipo, an aristocratic – looking modern hotel in dark brown and white, overlooking the harbor. As is our custom, we did not dine at the hotel, but went out to explore the locale and sample the local delicacies. We had a typical Korean lunch at one of the restaurants downtown, of grilled duck. Kimchi and other assorted side dishes completed the menu, and as usual, we all had to pitch in to the finish what was on the table.
Our bellies filled, we went for a stroll, and decided to visit the famous Teddy bear museum later in the day. I could not imagine why anyone would conceive an idea of a museum dedicated to teddy bears, but we were in the holiday mood, so we went. The effort that has gone into the creation of this museum is worth commenting. There are teddy bears in fairy tale costumes, traditional costumes of different nationalities and even famous paintings. We also came across a few of the world’s most expensive teddy bears, including a Louis Vuitton Bear which is valued at over $2.1 million and a bear made of exotic jewels and crystals.
Outside the Teddy bear museum it was bitingly cold and a bone-chilling wind was blowing. Opposite the Teddy bear museum, as though to continue the quirky mood, we saw Starbucks coffee with a very upside-down and cranky exterior. Near to the Teddy bear museum is the Chocolate Land, and the K-pop museum, both of which we could not visit because it was too late.
We couldn’t wait to get back to the cozy warmth of the hotel room that night. The next day was going to be our much-awaited trip to the Hallasan mountains. We slept well, and caught a bus to Hallasan mountain bright and fresh in the morning. After a long, relaxing and cool bus ride, we reached the mountains and walked up the well-trodden trekking path. Being winter, trees looked bare and forlorn. We walked for a while, and then decided to return, being not well-equipped to trek up to the peak in the biting cold. Waiting at the bus stop to go back to the hotel, we marveled at the technological advancements that we could see even in the announcements at the bus stop and the displays. We were told exactly how many minutes there were for the bus to reach us, and on the dot, the bus was there.