83 More info j www.cheongju.weebly.com Green spaCe Camilla Ugarte, a Canadian who recently returned to Cheongju, says the public parks and the walking and bike trails that line the city are some of her favorite things about living here. The most popular place to gather outside is the square beside the Musim River, just below the main bridge downtown. It’s a perfect place to rollerblade, skateboard, ride your bike, have a picnic or just people watch. The Sandangsangseong moun- tain fortress is also a popular spot to get some fresh air. The for- tress wall dates back to 1716 and stretches over 4.2 kilometers in cir- cumference, and within it there are some great hiking trails, the bright- ly painted Suamgol cultural village and a selection of restaurants from which to enjoy the view. The nearby Hwayangdong River within Songnisan National Park is also a top spot to visit with a picnic and bathing suit. Foreigners have often tried to find hidden swimming and drinking spots away from the demarcated areas, but park officials have wised up to this and now keep an eye out for pesky interlopers. Cheongju’s claim to fame is the Heungdeok Temple Site, home to the Early Printing Museum. There you can learn about Jikji, the oldest existing book printed using move- able metal type. Yes, Cheongju did it before Johnannes Gutenberg. online ConneCtions Cheongju residents don’t have to leave their houses for a sense of belonging in the community thanks to Aman- da Hayes, an Illinois native and Cheongju resident since 2007. She keeps people in the know with the Cheongju Weebly site, which she says was a labor of love that took about five months of organizing, research and writing to create. “I just got tired of the same questions being asked over and over, and thought there had to be a way to compile all of this information about the city,” she says. “I would have loved to have a reference guide like this when I was first here.” It’s a sentiment that seems to be shared by many of the city’s new arrivals. “I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback, especially from newbies, saying that it’s helped them a lot,” she says. Hayes also moderates the What’s Going on in Cheongju Facebook group, which is the fastest way to peruse opin- ions about the area or get advice and even a laugh. Making people laugh is something Manchester native Mark Hulme certainly enjoys. Besides often making wise- cracks on the Facebook group, the cheeky bugger has made a parody page. His What Street Shit is for Sale in Cheongju! group encourages people to post photos and bid on the furniture people leave out on the street for gar- bage collectors. Jokes aside, he’s proof that there’s a current of creativity running through the city that’s given rise to a community of self-starters, whether they’re seeking to share their art or engage in an enterprising new venture. “The cool thing about Cheongju is that if you’re inter- ested in something and you put it out there, chances are someone else will share your passion and you can start something,” says South African Helen Lloyd, who recently left the city after two years. “Cheongju folks are proactive. It’s one of the reasons I love them.” ‘musiC has always brought foreigners together here. ... the roCk musiC that played in the stairwell of my first bar is what drew english teaChers in, and from there musiCians would meet up, talk about and Create musiC in the bars.’ bar owner lee won-jae