Saturday, June 25, 2016

Daejeon and the Yuseong Hot Springs

I arrived in Daejeon on the express bus. Thus was the first time I had taken the express bus; prior to this I had taken the inter-city buses which are somewhat cheaper and stop more places. Still, the price wasn't bad; it was about twelve dollars for a ride that was at least two and a half hours. And I really couldn't see any real difference in quality. There was a TV at the front of the bus blaring some mindless daytime infotainment show in Korean, but I didn't understand what they were saying, and even if I had, it looked completely pointless.

When I first got on the bus, I was the only passenger. But at a later station, another person got on. So there were only two people on the bus for the entire rest of the ride to Daejeon. It was a very pleasant ride. The scenery was nice, as it usually is between cities in Korea, and the seats were fairly comfortable. I think they might have reclined a little more than the inter-city bus seats. Really, the only reason I took the express bus was that the express terminal was easier for me to find than the inter-city bus terminal. And with the language barrier, I went with what I could find. Actually, there are several bus terminals in Daegu. But the express bus terminals are all within a few blocks of each other, while the inter-city terminals are all over the city, and I had no idea which buses left from which terminals. And I had taken a train into Daegu...the first time I took a train in between Korean cities, so I didn't end up at a bus terminal. That was my bus end up at a terminal, so I would know where it was.  But that only really works in the smaller cities, where there is only one bus terminal. No telling if the terminal I land at would be the same one I take off from in these multi-terminal cities.

At least my method for taking the bus (or train) is solid. I just pull up the city I am going to on Google Maps, and show it to the person behind the counter. It has the name of the city in English and Korean. So far that has worked. But I might mention that Google Maps doesn't really work fully in Korea. It won't map out your route, though it will show you the streets. But sometimes it takes some time before it is not blurry...maybe after an hour or so, the streets will show up with definition. But what is DOES do is show you what bus or subway you can take to your destination, and where to catch it, which is awesome. It took me a while to figure out that I could do that, and it took me a while to figure out that I could map "manually", that is, just follow the streets on the map, even if it won't plot the course. At least Google Maps has some functionality in Korea; in Mongolia it didn't work at all. Then there is, which works great, but didn't cover one city that I was in at all (Jecheon) didn't even look like there was a city there; it showed no streets. Also it has less landmarks, though I think there is the capability to add some, but you have to go to the Open Maps Project to do it. Anyway, I haven't taken the time to figure it out. But between the two of them, I've mostly been able to make my way around.

Until now, that is. When I arrived in Daejeon, I tried to look for my hotel on, and it wasn't there. Then I tried Google Maps, and it gave me a location, and a bus to take. Great! So I took the bus across town, and searched for the hotel all around. The problem was, it wasn't there. It wasn't even anywhere near where Google Maps told me it was. So here I was, stuck somewhere across town with my full pack on, walking around looking for a phantom. Luckily, some kind teenagers working at a mobile phone store saw me wandering around aimlessly, looking for a dot on the map that was right where their store was, and helped me find the actual location of my hotel with a great Korean maps app (which I have downloaded since it is supposed to be the best one, but I can't use it because it is all in Korean), and set me off on the right bus to the correct place.

So I settled into my hotel room after a couple of hours of chaos, and in the late afternoon, explored the town and walked along a couple of rivers. But the main reason I came to Daejeon was for the hot springs. They are under the town, and come out in several different places. The easiest place to find (for me, anyway, with the language barrier), was at the Yuseong Spa located at the Yuseong Hotel. They charge a little over six dollars to use their spa. They have a public bath with several hot spring pools of varying temperatures, from lukewarm to barely tolerable, and also some cold baths. There is also a medicinal herb pool, which smelled quite aromatic, and the water was brownish. It was also pumped up and roiling like a jacuzzi. I have no idea what was in it, but I spent a lot of time in there.  The medicinal pool was 38 degrees C. The hottest pool wirh a temperature gauge was 44 C, and the main pool was 41 C.  There were two saunas; one was 77 C and the aromatic one, which I used, was 92 C. The rest of the pools didn't have temperature readings.

There were some waterfall pools, and I let the waterfalls fall on my back and shoulders so the force of the water would massage me. And there was also an outdoor hot spring and cold waterfall pool. There are even places to take naps in between the different baths. There was a also a massage table, but I couldn't figure out what the fee schedule was or where you pay, so I didn't bother with that.  The baths are segregated by gender and everybody is naked. So what I'm describing is in the male area; I have no idea what the female area was like.

You have to take off your shoes before you enter, and there are two different lockers, one for shoes, and another for the rest of your personal effects. Then they give you a little electronic submersible bracelet that unlocks both your lockers. There are also saunas in there as well. Everybody has to shower before entering any of the pools. The hot springs were superb; I spent all morning there. Then I alternated between the hottest, barely tolerable pool and the cold pool to relax before leaving. I've found in the past that alternating between hot and cold water a couple of times (actually, in the gym, I used to do a steambath then a cold shower twice) relaxes me better than Valium...Try it some time, it works for me every time.

I headed back to the hotel, and took a short nap, now I'm going out to check out the city some more.

No comments:

Post a Comment