Peaceful trip to Gwangju. Part I.
Once in July, I had a wonderful opportunity to take a two-day trip to Gwangju with my friend. Gwangju is the sixth-largest city in the country and has an enormous historical value to the democratization movement. One should remember that this Gwangju is called Gwangju Metropolitan City and before becoming one it was the capital of South Jeolla Province. The reason why I focus attention on this is that there is also Gwangju, but this one is a municipal city and lies in a suburb southeast of Seoul in Gyeonggi Province. While booking the bus tickets my friend and I almost went to a different location and for some time even have been searching for cafes to visit in a different city as well. So be careful when booking a ticket, because you can go to another city.
If you do not know what kind of transportation is more suitable for you to visit Gwangju there are different options to choose from: airplane, bus, KTX. We decided to go by bus and the road from Seoul took approximately four hours.
In order to book the ticket to the bus, we used Integrated Express Bus Website (https://www.kobus.co.kr). It is very simple to use, has English, Chinese, Japanese versions of the website as well.
What is more important is that they also have a mobile application that is very convenient – you can easily book all the tickets there and there will not be any need in printing out the tickets beforehand, because everything will be safely stored in the application.
IOS link: https://goo.su/71Ro
Android link: https://goo.su/71Rq)
After you fill in the dates and the destination you can either choose the Premium Bus or Economy – we chose an economy class and going forward, the seats were very comfortable and the whole trip was as fast as the blink of an eye. So, clicking on the ‘Search’ button, you will see ‘Bus Schedule’ where you just choose the most suitable timeline for yourself and after that simply select the number of tickets and where you would like to seat. To ‘Finish Selection’ you can either choose the option to register on the website (if you did not do it beforehand, which is I strongly advise you to do because that way the ticket can be easily found on your app), you can also choose the option ‘Non-membership reservation’. At the finish line, you just check the information and make a payment. With non-membership reservations make a screenshot with the information of the ticket as well as the code of reservation, which will be needed when you will be printing your ticket in the bus terminal.
As for the accommodation, the good well-trusted yanolja (link: https://yanolja.in) is always a good choice. You can choose whatever option is suitable for you and the most important thing yanolja makes sure that the places that they have on their website are trusted, so they inspect them and put the sticker that there are no hidden cameras (in Korea rate of arrests of hidden camera crimes has increased since 2011).
Being too hungry after the trip, we checked in the hotel and went to grab something to eat. Looking up interesting places beforehand our first eating out place in Gwangju was ‘Midpick’.
Here you can eat and just have a cup of coffee (americano`s price is 3800 won).
I tell you that that was one of the best decisions that day. The atmosphere was very pleasant, almost romantic, the food was the most delicious: pizza was melting in my mouth and the pasta was creamy and full of shrimps. While the rain was pouring outside we spent a wonderful time in this cozy cafe, talking about everything and nothing in particular.
As I already mentioned before, Gwangju had a significant historical event to talk place on its land. One of them was May 18 Democratic Uprising, which left a scar on everyone’s life and soul, but at the same time played an important role in the development of the democratization movement.
All in all, being in the city where all those events took place we had only one choice of how to spend our night. We watched ‘A Taxi Driver’ film on Netflix, which centers on the events of the Gwangju Uprising. The film left us in emotional turmoil, calm and peaceful moments of life were contrasted with the violent historical tragedy. What made me cry more was the fact that it was based on a true story, the portrayal by the actors was amazing.
The first night in Gwangju ended for us with a pleasant feeling of being in a new, wonderful city with a touch of sadness for the events that long became history yet still painful.
The next day was our last in Gwangju and we went to sleep full of anticipation and eagerness.