and this was the small version of the sandwich
before we knew what lurked under those rocks. shudder.
bottom: cafe; top: lodging!
does anyone get what this means? U4 cafe? U.I.V. cafe? UN cafe? Does the “V” have something to do with ET? I’m confused. Is “IV” another way to say “F.O.?” Is it some sci-fi reference I don’t know? I DON’T UNDERSTAND.
One of the best ways to get around Jeju island is on foot. The Olle Trails are a series of 21 trails that link to one another allowing hikers to journey around the entire island. Most of the trails follow the coast line, but some continue inland a bit, through farms and past temples and by waterfalls, stopping at various landmarks other along the way. You can easily find food and lodging either on, or near, the trails so there’s no need to bring any gear (unless you want to camp at one the beaches — for free!). It’s the ultimate backpacking trip that covers approximately 375km of trail and it’s a lovely, road=less-traveled way to experience Jeju.
Walking the trails around sunset became an evening ritual while in Jeju. We picked up Olle Route #16 along the coast just 5 minutes walking from our pension starting at Jungeom Saemul and ending near Gueom Dolyeomjeon (rock salt field). From the fishing experience village the trail veered away from the coast towards Susanbong Peak. Instead of following the trail we continued walking along the coastline, hitting up coffee shops and the amazingly kitsch UFO cafe and pension.
Ever since arriving in Jeju it had been too cloudy to catch a proper sunset but one evening, while on our sunset stroll, the sun poked out from the clouds just enough to paint the sky orange and pink and yellow. After dinner at Cooking Carpenter, we stopped on a cliff of lava rocks to watch the sun dip from one cloud to the next. I had this idea that we would sit near the water’s edge, feet dangling, and watch the sunset. As we approached the cliff overhang a couple of huge black roach-like bugs scurried past our feet and leaped out and over the water, plunking one after the other like lemmings into the swirling sea below. We looked at each other, horrified. “Did you see those things,” Sly asked. “Those were crabs, right,” I replied, hopeful. “I don’t know, they certainly looked like roaches.” We were both so disturbed. Imagine if we had sat on some rocks by the cliff and those roachy things had jumped onto us? SHUDDER.
We continued walking until we found ourselves at the UFO cafe. Disappointingly they didn’t have much of a dessert menu, so we ordered the only thing available: a strawberry milk drink along with some coffee and jujube honey tea (very tasty). Our conversation turned back to those roaches as we wondered what the hell they could have been. Sly googled and discovered that they were “sea roaches.” You mean to tell me that not only are there land roaches, but roaches that roam the sea? HELL NO.
After all that, we still craved some real dessert, so we dropped by the local GS25 convenience store — another nightly ritual — and bought some Haagen Daz crispy ice cream sandwiches (do they have these in the states?) and walked back home along the Olle Trail catching the last bit of the sunset..
DETAILS | OLLE TRAIL COURSE #16
OLLE TRAILS | We only hiked the tiniest portion of course 16, but there are so many olle tracks literally all around the island. I want to explore all of them! They are typically marked by blue or orange markers, most notably a blue abstract horse icon. DIRECTIONS: You can pick up an Olle Trail pretty much anywhere near the coast line. This website is really informative and in English! TIP: You can purchase an olle trail stamp book online (stamp books are really popular in Korea) and stamp your book for each section of the trail you hike. Look how awesome the book is — and look at those stamps! NEED TO GET ALL THE STAMPS. And while you’re buying the stamp book — check out the rest of the souvenirs on that site! I’m a gift shop junkie and so far gift shops in Korea have been rather sparse — or stocked with totally unrelated items — but I’m all over this website. Plus, proceeds from the sales are used to maintain the Olle Trail. Another bonus — if you complete all the trails and get all the stamps, you can receive discounts! Note: these passport books can also be bought at the Jeju aiport — go to the info desk and ask.
COOKING CARPENTER | ADDRESS: 1235, Gueom-ri, Aewol-eup, Jeju, Jeju-do, South Korea | COST: Inexpensive | CUISINE: They are most;y known for their massive burgers (which I didn’t realize were made of pork until I got there, but it should have been obvious) and spicy seafood ramen.In addition to the burger and ramen, the small menu offers fried pork chop (Jeju black pig is a specialty here and in the rest of Korea) and french fries. You can also just get coffee — they have a full coffee menu. VERDICT: There aren’t a ton of places to eat a casual meal in Aewol-eup. We didn’t want to eat another 10 course seafood meal so this was one of the few options left. Despite it’s rave online reviews we thought it was ok. It’s a personal preference of mine to avoid eating pig/pork and I don’t think i realized until my burger came out that the patty would be more consistent with a pork meatball. We were starving by that point and ate everything put in front of us. The restaurant is very popular, has outdoor seating, is family friendly, and is run by an older Korean man (who is also an avid carpenter it seems — hence the name) wearing a cowboy hat. Those are pluses in my boo. Food-wise — nothing to rave about but no complaints either.
UFO CAFE & BISTRO | ADDRESS: 765, Aewolhaean-ro, Aewol-eup | COST: Inexpensive | CUISINE: We were in search of bingsu and desserts so we didn’t really look at the rest of the menu in terms of food but I think it was mainly Korean snacks and cafe food along with a lot of tea options, a full coffee menu, and wine. | VERDICT. If you are a fan of kitschy road-side architecture then you will love this place. The bottom portion of the UFO is the cafe and the spaceship part is the pension! You can stay here!??! Awesome. We looked it up and it seems like rooms start at around $70/night. We are totally staying there one of these days! As for the food — we only had tea, coffee and a weird strawberry milk drink. Tea was really good. Coffee was kind of on the weaker side — like the roast was not a dark roast — and the strawberry drink was I good I guess– kind of like a deconstructed strawberry milk shake? BUT we didn’t exactly come here for gourmet food — we came to see the giant, out-of-place UFO that ‘landed’ on the coast of Jeju. And that alone was worth the visit.