We had been thinking about going to experience some of the festivals around South Korea for a while but for one reason or another we just haven't done it yet. Thursday night I sat down to see the dates for the upcoming Jinju Lantern Festival, one festival that I was really looking forward to, and realized that of the week or so left of the two week festival the only time we would be able to go would be this Saturday (less than 48 hours from the discovery). Luckily Soren agreed that it was something we should do.
|Waiting for the train. Hyrum loved the trains passing by the platform.|
There were also these beautiful wildflowers that grew along the train tracks for a good portion of the southern end of the trip. I'm not really sure what they are but I like them.
|One of the lanterns outside the station.|
The part of the weekend that I was not looking forward to was making hotel reservations. The train that we took to get to Jinju only goes through town in each direction once per day. It goes north at 9:20am and arrives heading south at 4:30pm. Since we needed to go back north, we would not be able to get another train until Sunday morning (unfortunately meaning we would miss church). At home, hotel reservations are easy. You go to a website and they have all of the hotels for a given are right there; you just have to choose one. Here it's not like that. Only the high-end, business hotels are really listed. The smaller, more affordable hotels are found some other way that I have yet to discover.
We originally made a reservation Thursday night for one of the business hotel since they were listed online and they spoke English. It was more expensive but would have been worth it if they hadn't called the next day, 24 hours before our train left for Jinju, to say that they didn't have any more rooms. Luckily I found a smaller hotel for us that ended up being closer to the main part of the festival for almost half of what the other room would have cost us. Upon arriving though, the clerk at the hotel, through an interpreter, tells us that she is sorry that we made a reservation but they didn't have any more rooms. Eventually she decided that if we came back in about a half hour they would have a room for us and they did. That was a relief. With the crowds on the street, I doubt that the hotel room search would have gone well.
We didn't spend much time in the room but it was nice. It even had a computer for us to use. Hyrum particularly enjoyed the fact that he got to take a bath since all we have is a shower.
All in all, it was a rough but good start to an amazing trip!