The heavy rain of the previous day had stopped and with Jeonbuk’s game against the Army team not kicking off until the evening Jen and I took the opportunity to go hiking. There are a couple of Provincial Parks near to Jeonju and we got a taxi to Maisan. We could have got a bus to Jinan and then another one to the Maisan park entrance but it seemed like a bit of an arse on. The cabbie didn’t bother with the meter but instead quoted a fare of thirty five thousand won which I think is reasonable for the thirty kilometre or so journey.
Maisan is famous for a couple of peaks that are said to resemble horse ears. They don’t really though. I suppose at a push you could make a case for cat ears but back in the days when people were dishing out the attributes to mountains I’ve no idea if they had any cats in Korea. Perhaps a horse really was the nearest likeness. Or maybe horses had weird ears back then. I should really have taken a photo before we got up close, but I didn’t.
We hadn’t much of a plan worked out before we got there and after looking at the map near the trail entrance we just set off from the North Car Park towards the horse/cat ears. After a decent slog up a wooden staircase we reached the point where the path led to one of the peaks. Unfortunately it was shut and so we had little option but to carry on towards the South Car Park.
A few minutes further along the path we arrived at Tapsa Temple. Normally I’m not too fussed about temples, most of them have been rebuilt a few times and when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. This one was different though and seemed more like a fairy grotto in a theme park than a temple. It had waterwheels, little huts with Buddhas in them and more stone animal statues than a garden centre. Apparently it had been built at the back end of the nineteen century by some fella who had decided to move to the hills and live on raw pine needles. I suppose he wouldn’t have been spending much time cooking or washing up.
Further along the trail we had the option to veer right and head up to a smaller peak. The path started with a section where you needed to haul yourself up steep wet rock. We decided not to bother and just pushed on towards the South Car Park instead where after a couple of hours hiking we got a taxi back to Jeonju. I’d recommend Maisan when the trail to the top of one of the ears opens again, or when the conditions are a bit drier. There are plenty of restaurants at the South Car Park and the smoked pork ribs looked well worth a try.
Jen needed to be back in Seoul earlier than the 7pm kick-off in the Jeonbuk v Sangju Sangmu game would allow and so she dropped me off at the World Cup Stadium on her way to Iksan station. Jeonbuk are on a bit of a roll at the moment, having won their previous seven matches to move to the top of the table and I wasn’t really expecting the Army team to cause them any problems.
I was quite early going in and so had my pick of the seats in the East Stand. It’s the most popular area and by the time everyone had arrived there were probably three or four thousand people sharing it with me. Unfortunately there were only around a thousand others in the rest of the ground meaning the true attendance was well short of the 8,800 claimed by the stadium announcer.
Lee Dong Gook was in the starting line-up for Jeonbuk alongside Eninho and Droguett. Luiz Henrique was on the bench whilst Sangmu’s sub goalie Kwon Soon Tae received a warm welcome from the Jeonbuk fans ahead of his planned return in October once his National Service is complete. The visitors managed to deny Jeonbuk for about ten minutes before Chilean striker Hugo Droguett cut in from the right wing and curled a left footed shot into the far corner.
That was the only goal of the first half and with not much worth eating inside the ground I nipped out at the interval for some exceptionally crap fried chicken. You’d think that I would have learned by now that the chicken on sale before the game is never too clever a choice an hour or so later.
Twenty minutes from the end Droguett added his and Jeonbuk’s second goal, finishing off a move from about fifteen yards out. As I’d backed the home side to win by at least three, I was hopeful that his effort wouldn’t be the full extent of the scoring. Jeonbuk had a few more chances, notably one where Lee Dong Gook tried to round the keeper but only managed to pick up a yellow card for diving rather than the penalty he felt that he deserved.
With no more goals I lost my bet but Jeonbuk picked up the three points to stay top of the league and extend their winning run to eight games.