Saturday, 21 January 2012

Return to Hell

Korea is covered in mountains but disappointingly low on active and deadly volcanoes, the bloody not-choking-to-death spoilsports. Even the stand-out feature of Jeju Island, Seongsan Ilchulbong, disappointed me slightly when I reached the summit and discovered it was a filled-in, Arthur's Seat-style extinct volcano rather than a Bromo-style sulphuric belcher. Well, it was a nice view.

But Jeju still had a few surprises left for me, including an extensive network of lava tunnels underground that made me feel like I was heading back to Hell. And we all know the ordeal I went through last time - I still can't look at a frying pan without wincing.

Seongsan Ilchulbong

The fifth volcano I've visited in a year-and-a-bit
(the others being Vesuvius, Bromo, Ijen and Taal, since you asked)

Sunrise Peak, looking verdant and serene rather than noxious and exciting

But that probably makes these people feel more secure than the fools who live in Pompeii

Seongan Ilchulbong from Seopjikoji

Manjanggul Lava Tube

This cave system was a lot better maintained and more accessible than the ones I visited in Borneo, where lack of torch and stifling humidity meant I couldn't go very far

Lava flow lines

Lava stalactites

'Turtle Rock' - again, it doesn't look anything like... what's the point?

Double lava column, with artificial lighting to clarify that you should be impressed.

This is as far as I could get. Satan, High on his throne of royal state, which far Outshines the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand Show'rs on her kings Barbaric pearl and gold, will have to wait for another day. We'll catch up.