On our second day in Samcheok we woke up to a little sun.  Hopeful about the situation we decided to head over to the bus terminal and buy our tickets for the bus to take us to the Hwanseon Cave.  It is the largest limestone cave in Korea, and one of the largest in Asia.

When we first got there it was just breath taking.  Everything was lush and the darkest greens.  The clouds were all low hanging and misty.

On the way up I was being quite whiny.  It is a really super steep 1.5km hike to the entrance of the cave.  I had hurt my knee the day before on our impromptu hike in the city, and this hike was not helping how it felt at all.

Along the way up we saw some gorgeous scenery and a waterfall that gave some relief in the heat and thick humidity that was hanging about.

This was a water weight situation.

There were river ways and little rapids everywhere.

The Fairy Waterfall.

Then we got to the top.

Inside the air was thick and misty.  The whole set up is made of these metal walkways that flow through the cave.  We just kept moving slowly through the caves.  There were so many shapes and textures inside.  I just kept wanting to touch everything to see how it felt, but only got up the courage to do it a few times.

The air was so misty, and because I didn’t want to wake any bats just in case they were lurking about I didn’t use my flash for 99% of the photos I took which was a serious challenge.

These formations that look like the nests made by a certain type of bee were my favorites.

The inside really was huge.  It took us over an hour to walk all the way through the tour.

The ceiling was full of huge holes and tunnels.  Some of them dripped water others were just being used by the bats as a shelter away from all of the people and lights.

There was a sign explaining how some formations were named after shapes people saw.  This one is supposed to be naturally carved into a heart cut out.

No really it was huge. So much so we spent much longer than intended inside and missed the bus that we wanted to take back down to the city.  At first, I was really bummed, but as the afternoon went on I was really glad we were forced to stay a bit longer.

The reason I had wanted to get back to the city was because I had ridiculous hope that the sun would last all day and I would be able to sit on the beach.  Instead at the bottom of the hill we enjoyed this sunflower patch and lunch.  We went to this Korean place right at the entrance of the park.  We were the only foreigners and I did pretty well with reading the menu.  Andy liked everything I picked.  We shared a Korean pancake and some bibimbap.  A really nice little family next to us gave Andy some makkali and cornbread.  It was all really good.

Once we got back to the city we had about an hour before we had to catch a bus home.  So we took a cab to the beach and sat for about half an hour.  The water was cold and it was completely overcast so I was glad that we had been able to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery instead.

All of the Koreans looking like New Englanders in the ridiculously cold water.  I immediately told Andy it was freezing and then when we felt it himself he said it was fine.  I prefer my warm southern water any day of the week for sure.

And of course like every post so far this one will include a cute picture of us at the beach. I keep forgetting that finally there is someone taller than me in the pictures.  I keep cutting off Andy’s head on accident. oops.

The bus ride home was only supposed to take about 3.5 hours but due to rain, traffic, and finally a detour we didn’t arrive home until 5 hours later.  We were both comatose sitting on the subway ride home from the bus station.  We definitely fell into bed and slept like rocks.  Our two day trip felt like it had been four.  All in all, it was definitely an adventure and I learned a lot about planning and researching, and not leaving it all up to fate.  And even with the ridiculous weather we definitely made the best of it.