This past weekend we headed out to Jinhae to get a taste of the Famous Cherry Blossom Festival. I was super excited about the pictures this trip would produce as the blossoms in Busan were gorgeous and full! So after church, we hopped in the car and brought along a friend! Erik is a member of ICC whom we just recently have become aquainted with and he thought it might be fun to join in on the festivities... so we gladly brought him along as we headed out for the first "road trip" towards Jinhae. (Without a map of the area of course!) We knew the general direction and so once we got on the right road out of town, we were golden! It was a beautiful ride on a gorgeously sunny day! The sky was blue and littered with puffy white clouds as rode along the mountainous highway. We reached Jinhae limits about an hour after leaving Busan and began "the search" for the festival.
As you enter the town, there are signs that promise a festival via a large red arrow. So we drive in that direction for a while before turning off on a side road to see if we can spot any festival activities. But after being treated to a nice scenic view of the mountain side bay, we decided to stop and ask for directions. Of course none of us knew how to say cherry blossom festival, so we trusted the translation on the cell phone dictionary and our cummulative Hangul skills, and asked some of the locals where to find the festival. Tyalor and Erik had no luck with the phrase provided for festival.. and so Taylor ran to grab a blossom off the nearest tree to show the locals. They immediately knew what we were wanting and pointed us back the way we came from! Along the road back, we stopped at the road side to ask another for directions from there. This time the word for "festival" worked with them and they gave us extensive directions. Apparently we were to drive for about another 30 minutes... which seemed od to us at the time.... so after driving another 5 minutes we stopped and asked another. This time the lady pointed us in the opposite diraction. We were now confused and curious as to who knew what they were talking about. So we drove back into town just a bit (the direction the last lady told us) before we realized that she was just plain wrong. So we turned aroud and decided to try this "driving for 30 minutes" approach. Much to our surprise... the town was split up into several sections that were divided by large mountains around a huge gulf. It seemed like we had been driving for ever and were still in Jinhae. Taylor finally caught glimps of a sign with another arrow and took that exit. Upon exiting we soon agreed that this was not the right place either and asked another bystander. He pointed in the direction we had been driving previously and so we continued on with slight hesitation in thinking we would soon run out of Jinhae city limits. Alas, we came up to an exit that was larger than all the previous exits and it was a huge chunk of Jinhae! Horray, this looked promising! As we exited we saw several signs for the festival and then decided to park along the curb that was littered with tour buses. We got out and walked to where all the loacls were standing where we found a "tourist tent" set up with maps. The woman inside the tent pointed us to the steps behind her when we asked about the festival and so we climbed the step in anticipation. As we reached the top, we were all a little confused by what we saw. There was a set of old railroad tracks running parallel to two rows of Cherry Blossom trees and clusters of people taking pictures. Could this be it? There were a handful of food vendors, but not more than four at the most and the trees were not even in full bloom! We were certain this couldn't be the right spot. Erik looked over the map we were given and suggested we try a couple of other places listed. So after Corin was handed a free corny dog with gobs of messy ketchup, which he later dropped on the ground after a few bites, we hopped in the car and successfully navigated to the "Romance Bridge" where we found many more people as well as more booths and vendors set up. Jackpot! We parked and began to walk up and down the scenic bridge as I captured several shots. It was around 5pm by now and the lighting was perfect... if only the trees had been in full bloom! Bummer. But it was still a treat and we are excited to be going back this weekend, where we will be joined by another couple form church! Until then, I will leave you with a few pics! (By the way, while we enjoyed Korean traditional activities, we dined on American food! McDonalds for lunch and Pizza Hut for dinner!)
(If you are a facebook member there is a full album of the days pictures.)