You would think biking 50 miles would have presented us with a challenge, flat tire, accident, something of that sort, but we were lucky to avoid that. It's a bit ironic really that the problem we encountered didn't come until the final day of our trip, and had nothing to do with our bikes, but instead our group leader and the van(s). After waiting around for a while we finally got a hold of William at which point we learned there had been an accident, thankfully no one was hurt and there weren't really any damages either, but he wouldn't be able to come get us. Um, excuse me, what?
Our bikes had already been loaded on a flatbed truck, not like any of us were considering riding them back anyway, but I did try to persuade the drive to let us jump in the back with them, no go. We didn't get the details on the crash, instead all we knew was that the 20 of us had to find our own way back. William claimed there was no private bus we could charter, hence him having to make multiple trips in the first place, but we were determined to prove him wrong. He had suggested taking the public bus, however it would run us $10 each, didn't leave until 6:25 and would take two hours to return. None of us were too excited about this option so we went in search of an alternative.
I have no idea where Laura and Katie disappeared to, but they soon returned with good news. They had found a bus we could hire, the only problem being that it would cost us double the price of the public bus. At that point I think we were all ready to pay, but we still had to get in touch with William to let him know. We had one communal phone for this very task, and somehow I wound up on the other end of it. The reception was spotty, William was still dealing with accident bureaucrats and we dropped a few calls, but finally the bus was confirmed and William was paying. There was just enough time for us to make a final beer and snack run before loading up and heading back to our campsite, where the rest of the group had been patiently waiting, nearly half the day now.
The best surprise upon returning to camp was that the rest of the team had set up all of the tents, knowing this was likely not something we would want to do, especially as it was nearly dark by the time we pulled in. The nearby sauna was still open for a bit, but I was actually too tired to even bother changing and walking over. Instead I grabbed a beer and sat down to be filled in on what exactly had happened that day. William and a few others were still mia, apparently at the police station regarding the days events. It seemed that everyone had a different story about what was going on and what had actually happened that day. It was interesting, but I eventually gave up on trying to figure out and opted instead for the comfort of my bed, if you could call my hard patch of ground in the tent that.
I woke early, per usual, with the sun, and was filled with mixed emotions of returning home to a running shower and my bed, but also at this trip being over. I was hesitant to join an organized trip, I've never been good at following direction, or hanging out with large numbers of foreigners, but I was throughly impressed with how well it all went (aside from the accident). We had spent an awesome four days together, and it was tough knowing that once we were back in Korea we'd go our separate ways, not knowing if or when we'd see each other again. As everyone assembled we found out William and two others had been at the police station until 3 am and were not permitted to leave the island that day. There were some issues about international license validity, but this all seemed a bit intense, the accident didn't even involve another car! For the rest of us, it was a short ride back to the ferry and then a few more hours until we were back in Korea. Thanks to technology we were all already connected via facebook and in the midst of making plans for the future, although I'm sure the bikes will be left out of it this time.
Recognized for great Sushi and Ramen, there's so much more to this country than its food. Rich with history and culture this small group of Islands is a place not to be missed.