Trick Eye Museum
After a three hour ride from Seoul, our KTX train arrives in Busan. We stop for a coffee and quick breakfast sandwich at Angel In Us in the station. Taking the elevator to the exit, we can see Gamcheon Culture Village, a town of stacked, brightly colored houses, cafes, and shops winding along the mountain’s narrow streets and staircases.
Taking the metro line five to Gwangan Station, we exit and walk the short distance to our Airbnb. We enter the code at the first floor entrance, take the elevator to the eighteenth floor, and enter the second code into the keypad on the door. In addition to the beautiful views of Gwangalli Beach, we chose this Airbnb for the washer. Planning to wash clothes on our tenth day of traveling, we are able to have more room for souvenirs in our suitcases. After dropping off our bags and starting the washer, we walk back to the metro station and take line two to Seomyeon transferring to line one to Jagaichi Station.
Exiting the subway, we walk to Nampo Plaza. Taking the elevator to the ninth floor, we arrive at the Trick Eye Museum, Busan’s optical illusion paradise where visitors step inside the 3D paintings. There are seven stories to experience inside the museum: Amazing Adventure, Secret of Masterpieces, Fantasy Water, Joyful Life, Safari Exploration, Fantastic Trip, and Believe it or Not.
In the Fantasy Water story we complete the paintings as we ride on a dragon, cross a rickety wooden bridge over a treacherous whirlpool, stay afloat on a log at the base of a waterfall, ride a magical unicorn, and hide from a hungry seagull in a small glass bottle.
In our favorite story, Fantastic Trip, we climb up buildings with Spider-man, take a beach trip to Busan, fish with the natives, ski down a snow covered mountain, walk the red carpet, and cause a bit of mischief.
Believe It or Not, we takea relaxing gondola ride through Venice, salsa dance in Spain, escape from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, sit on the moon, survive a hurricane, and drive a horse drawn carriage in the next story.
We cross a river with help of angels, sit patiently as our portrait is painted, picnic and walk the cobblestone streets with the local towns people, and drink wine with a cherub in the story of Secret of Masterpieces.
Having the opportunity to participate in the Olympics in the story of a Joyful Life, I try out skating as Mitch excels at synchronized swimming before hoping on a bike and joining ET.
We are welcomed to bathe in a male community bath, practice floating meditation, and enjoy a tea party on a giant dancer’s tutu in Amazing Adventure.
After nearly two hours of laughs, we leave the museum to explore Nampodong Street. Tables of twelve dollar pairs of shoes, ten dollar bags, cell phone cases, eighty cent socks, and local food line the sidewalks. Adorable socks being a kryptonite, I purchase many while Mitch gets a waffle from a nearby vendor. Continuing our shopping, we take the metro back to Seomyeon station to explore the underground shopping center. Resembling an indoor mall, it’s easy to forget we are inside a very popular metro station with more than one hundred and sixty people passing through the shopping hub each day.
Shopping up an appetite, we take the metro back to Gwgangalli beach for chicken bulgogi. We push a button on the table to let the waitress know we are ready to order. Vegetables are added to the marinated chicken and cooked in a large pan on the table served with sides of rice and kimchi.
On the way back to our Airbnb, we pass an arcade filled only with claw machines. Stopping at a convenience store, we purchase a vanilla milkshake pouch and grape and blue raspberry flavored ice balls for dessert.
Reaching the ocean, the Diamond Bridge, also known as Busan Gwangandaegyo Bridge, and the city lights of Gwangalli reflecting off the ocean is breathtaking. The suspension bridge stretching four and a half miles over the ocean has thousands of LED lights changing color with the seasons. Returning to our Airbnb, we hang up our clothing throughout the apartment to dry before getting some sleep.
We awake the next morning as rain crashes into the window. Cancelling our beach day, we put on our rain jackets and flip flops before heading outside. Only walking around the corner from the building entrance, we are drenched. Returning inside, we take the elevator to the eighteenth floor, but cannot open the door to our room. Not receiving Wi-Fi in the hallway to contact our Airbnb host, we begin to panic. Out of frustration, we slam the lid to the entry pad shut and hear the door greet us in Korean and unlock.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: It took us many times before learning, the keypad cover above the door handle must be shut after entering the code to unlock the door.
I change into mesh shorts while Mitch puts on his swim trunks. We put our raincoats back on and grab two umbrellas from the hallways closet. Feeling more prepared for the rain, an announcement is made over the intercom in Korean as we are opening the door. Looking out the window, the rain is coming down in sheets and streets are beginning to flood. Hoping we aren’t in any danger, we continue down the elevator to the street. Looking at the signs on nearby restaurants, we find most businesses aren’t open until 11:00am. Walking back towards our Airbnb, we stop in Hollys Coffee for breakfast and coffees. Still too early to explore, we return to our accommodations to take care of our laundry.
Hoping the rain doesn’t delay opening times, we venture back outdoors. Finding an open Vietnamese restaurant, we walk inside. Being the only customers, our giant bowl of pho arrives quickly. Finishing lunch, we take advantage of a momentary break in the rain and walk to Gorilla Brewing Company.
We order a Dark Nut Brown and Gorilla IPA from the modern concrete bar, then choose a table overlooking the street. The staff speaks great English and is extremely knowledgeable as we sample the available drafts. Hoping the rain will let up again, we order a Cherry Wheat and Gorilla Stout while we wait. Finishing our drinks, we purchase some Gorilla Brewing apparel before braving the storm and walking back towards the beach.
Spotting an open Mexican restaurant, Fuzzy Navel, we have a seat at the bar. Ordering drinks off the cocktail menu, we enjoy the music as we stare outside at the rain. Trying not to let the weather dampen our spirits, we engage on a Gwangalli beach bar crawl.
As the sun begins to set on our final day in South Korea, we have one last Korean barbecue experience. On the way back to our Airbnb, we join the festivities at a nearby carnival, before taking one last walk on the beach with a farewell bottle of grapefruit soju.