We ride for about fifteen kilometers to the port of Qingdao. We imagined it to be bigger. We pay 900 yuan each (approximately EUR 120) for the 17 hours ferry to Incheon. From here only two passenger vessels, one for Incheon in Korea and one for Japan. We're so sorry to leave China in a hurry and having seen so little. And even to arrive in Korea without knowing more or less nothing about it, according to our plan we had to get there in a month and we thought we would had time to study.
And moreover we only have 90 Euros left and we have to make it until July 20, ten days, though task. Luckily we easily found hospitality on our arrival thanks to warmshower.org. In the waiting room of the harbor we are not a dozen people, rather strange being summer. Perhaps it is because of the psychological terror on the Mers "epidemic" that is affecting the area of Seoul, it already killed thirty people. The virus seems to come from people who have been in the Middle East. There are signs everywhere telling you to avoid contact with camels or people dealing with camels. Some time ago we saw a newscast in China talking about the disease as if it were some sort of bubonic plague. This alarmism has definitely hit tourism. But anyway, even if we had met some camels in the last months in Kazakhstan we are not going to tell them.
Incheon is made of streets that rise and fall, it seems for the most high rises but not like China, there is also room for small houses and older buildings, and there are more colors. So we find the restaurant and at once the guy who is hosting us, KB. He has a nice hat and cooks Gimbap (roll of rice wrapped in seaweed with vegetables inside and what you want: fish, meat or omelette), in his own tiny restaurant inside a shopping mall, he also makes us a mix of spaghetti with red sauce and vegetables called Bibimbap, good but very spicy... I can't make it... we hope to get used quickly to the spicy Korean cuisine.
The third day in Korea, we take the subway to Seoul, it takes about an hour. We are going to meet the guys of Twisting Spokes, they are in Seoul and are about to return to China. We are in touch since before starting our trips and it's cool to meet in such a small touring cyclist world. Moreover they just managed to obtain a three months tourist visa for China and we want to understand how they did it. They have presented a route and will send us a copy so we could use it ourselves in the future, plus fake plane tickets and fake hotel reservations.
Boardagem Cafè Seoul: N 37°32'22.2 E 126°59'24.4
The next day we go for a walk in Chinatown, Incheon is a surprise, what we thought was just a tall grey building city has instead many cute neighborhoods, rich in history. After the Little China we also visit the Japanese area, a park with the statue of general McArthur, and the old harbor storage quarters, cool red-bricks buildings now turned in to art galleries.
We go eat: this time I get dry noodles served on a sort of steam pot that you have to sink in a broth served apart, Daniele takes steamed Mandu (very similar from central Asia through China and even here) filled with meat, the dough is very thin and they are the best ever, 3000 won (3 dollars) for 6 mandu, in China you would had had three times for half price, but better we stop thinking like that.
Around 2pm Jida goes to work and we go towards the Island of the airport, the west coast islands tour begins.