Korean Tour Blog 2023 Part 2.
Now into the second half of our Korean tour we were pleasantly surprised by a full buffet in the morning. We boarded the coach, slipping into our usual seats at the back, hoping for a short ride to the concert venue. However, we were struck with a 90-minute journey without devices, a nightmare for most of the boys on board – but not us. As the bigs, we immediately took responsibility for entertainment, singing libera classics and hymns in perfect harmony. We eventually arrived at Iksan Arts Centre for our third concert, which was once again very successful. We’ve really enjoyed the local food in Korea, including the later dinner we had that evening of pork cutlets and rice.
The next day followed a similar regime. We finished breakfast, and headed straight to the concert venue, which luckily had a park nearby. As bigs, we’re always finding ways of sneaking football into our touring lives. Today was no different, as we spotted a perfect opportunity. Using coats and water bottles as goals and sorting teams as fast as we could, we managed to get a game rolling, a huge success in our books. We then made our way into the dressing rooms where extra time was passed in the mirror-maze of the dressing rooms, We did a quick soundcheck and it was show time. Following our concert, once again we were treated to more amazing food, this time fried chicken at a place from our sponsors. We enjoyed it so much that some even tried sneaking some back to the hotel. That didn’t quite go to plan but we re-boarded the coach and journeyed back to the hotel.
Day eight had no concert to worry about so we spent the day visiting a Korean Folk Village. On the way we stopped into a shop to hire some traditional Korean clothes. Some of us looked like Gods and others looked more like lowly villagers, but everyone looked excellent. We were expecting most of the boys to dress traditionally, but this was quickly scuppered when Victor picked out a bright red armoured outfit, resembling the likes of Genghis Khan! Our first stop in the village was a small cabin where an old man was selling antique flutes. To our surprise, this difficult instrument was immediately picked up by both Luca and Freddie and they spent the majority of the day working out Libera classics such as Wayfaring Stranger on these fiendish instruments as we meandered through the ancient buildings and grounds. To our delight, there was a less traditional part of the village too, which consisted of a large swinging ship and a small roller-coaster. As expected, as us bigs strapped into the ride, we were petrified and were quickly mocked by the public as we screamed for the entirety, perhaps not so wise with a concert the next day… whoops. We saw some incredible traditional Korean dance and music and had a good opportunity to buy souvenirs and presents for our families back at home. Throughout the journey back from the village, we provided the usual entertainment of songs and hymns, including ‘For lo I raise up’ and ‘The heavens are telling’.
An eventful penultimate day came around, as after eating our usual buffet, we departed to the Bear Tree Park. We we pondered as to whether there would be actual bears in the bear tree park. I guess you could say we bearly knew what was going on! Eventually, we found ourselves interacting with the actual bears by feeding them. The bears were astonishingly good at catching the pieces of carrot despite many of them lazing around on their bottoms. This was followed by a few games of disease which were challenging due to the tough terrain posed by the steep hill on which the park was situated. Before the concert, we stopped at a mall to eat at a large buffet restaurant. There was an excellent selection of cuisines, but without a doubt, the most popular was the desert station and waffle machine with the younger ones boys. After making our way to the venue, we had a relatively short soundcheck and before we knew it we found ourselves in the green room, eating a pre-show jam sandwich. Following the concert, we had an enormous signing which lasted close to an hour, with some of the boys receiving gifts. Victor received a bouquet of flowers, and Freddie was given a rose. We celebrated the final concert of our successful tour with pizza and milkshakes in the dressing room. Due to the late return from the signing, many of the boys fell asleep on the coach which was disappointing as us Bigs were eager to continue entertaining the younger ones, even after the last concert.
As the final day dawned, all were awake nice and early to enjoy our last hearty breakfast before leaving. We finished packing our cases, loaded them onto the coach and said goodbye to the hotel we had called home for five nights. Ultimately, we would reach Incheon Airport, but we would make a stop at the Suwon World Cup stadium where three games were hosted in the 2002 Japan and Korea World Cup. The stadium-turned-part-museum was jam packed with interesting areas, including a room for the great Ji-Sung Park, a small astroturf and even pitch side access inside the ground itself, where lots of pictures and videos were taken. Driving to our last meal out, we ate and (obviously) got on the coach again. Throughout the 10 days, we had kept the same coach to take us everywhere, all the time. So, as we finally departed, we cherished the fond memories of the purple curtains, air conditioning, our loud singalongs, and of course, how we experienced Korea from the back row.