Mungyeong to Naktong-ri (49 km)
It was a hot day for cycling (around 31oC). We had hoped to do around 80km today to Gumi, but a wrong turn and the climbing temperature resulted in many stops and sapped energy. At the Sangponggyo Bridge, we joined the Nakdong River, the longest river and longest cycling path in Korea. The path was good but it soon divided and we learned later that we had taken the less good route. This involved a long climb up from the river, which was so steep we couldn’t push our bikes fully loaded, so had to wheel our bikes up and then return for our panniers. We know that we miss a lot not reading Korean and today we felt this more than ever as there may well have been warnings. The detour did, however, offer us really good views of the river and a tour through Gyeongcheondae Terrace Park (meaning “Even heaven was taken aback by its beauty”) with its charming sculptures. We ate our sandwiches in the lovely grounds of the Sangju Museum. When we eventually rejoined the main path, we passed by a 17th C Confucian Academy and through farmlands of newly-seeded rice fields.
We decided to stop near Sangju and look for a pension or motel, not expecting much in the small village. By chance, we found a motel which caters to cyclists. Our bikes have individual lockers for the night! The local restaurant served us delicious seafood noodles which was the non-meat alternative. We did not eat the baby octopus!
Historical note: Mungyeong was the site of a massacre of unarmed people accused of being communist sympathizers. In 2011 the Supreme Court eventually agreed to reparations.