It was a cool rainy day and we had spent half of it exploring the winding alleys of Gamcheon. With barely half a day left, we had a tough time deciding what to do next in Busan.
We got off at BIFF Square and looked for a place to eat. It was nearing 2 pm and after a quick lunch, we strolled aimlessly in the market. There were people everywhere. Local vendors had an eclectic bunch of wares for sale. Exotic fish, street food, sweets, and even clothing was on display. BIFF Square is also popular for hosting the Busan International Film Festival. Gujke Market is a stone’s throw away from here.
We walked to the nearest subway station and took another bus to reach Taejongdae Park. At 5 pm, most tourists were leaving the park. Fortunately, the park was still open for visitors and armed with a park map – we continued walking.
Due to the rain, Danubi (mini train) services were stalled. The weather was cool and we didn’t mind the walk – although my feet begged us to stop. At that time, we didn’t really have a plan in mind. We thought we’d get to the point our legs could take no more.
Taejongdae Pebble Beach
We reached the pebble beach quite soon. The panoramic views, from up, were stunning and we had to climb down, to get closer to the emerald waters. The dizzying stone steps that lead downwards are pretty tricky and all you need is a small slip – to set you tumbling down. We weren’t sure what was happening, but by the looks of it, passengers crammed for a joy ride in the sea. For the brave, a food stall served fresh (literally moving) sea creatures in traditional Korean style.
After a tiring walk upstairs, with my lungs literally begging for Oxygen, we took a break for a while. It was surprising to see visitors, mostly locals or Chinese tourists come for an evening stroll in the park. Immaculately tarred roadways lead us deeper into a dense pocket of vegetation. Often, there wasn’t a soul on the road. The smell of fresh leaves and sounds of chirping birds kept us going along the winding, undulating turns of the mountain.
By the time we reached the Observation Deck, I probably resembled the ‘living dead’. In the distance, Tea Kettle Island (because of its uncanny resemblance to a kettle) was one of the closest islands we could identify with the naked eye.
Clearly, we hadn’t thought this one out. Getting to the light house and cliffs below, would mean having to walk down a wooden walkway of descending steps. At this point, I really thought of not going any further. I finally made it to the point before the light house. We were losing light and although there were some people on the cliffs below, we decided to enjoy the view instead.
Alluring images of these two rocky outcrops had made us want to visit Taejongdae Park. Despite a whole day of walking and jumping on and off subways/buses, the effort of seeing these jagged rocks was worth it. It was tempting to go down – just a little closer. But the thought of getting back was nagging me.
Statue of Mother And Children
It’s saddening when places of natural beauty have a tragic history associated with it. If anything, nature makes me want to live and fight whatever is getting me down. I know, everyone doesn’t think the same. Life’s not easy. In a strange twist of beauty and tragedy, the cliffs have been the tipping point for those who chose to jump on the other side of hope.
We could’ve followed the same route back to the entrance of the park, but, Basil suggested we see the other side of the park. Fortunately, the roads lead downwards. En-roue we saw a rainbow. My tired mind had seen its silver lining. My lucky charm to continue walking. Daylight gently faded and the park lights turned on. Everything was silent, not a stir, maybe an occasional local staring at these two crazy foreigners. The things we do when we travel.
Metro Line 1 Busan Station (Exit 7)
Bus 88, 101 → Taejongdae Terminus