Here comes October again, a beautiful month for travelling and sightseeing as the weather is not too cold yet, and there are many festivals held around Busan and out. Although I am busy with my thesis and paper, I still try to travel whenever I can because these are my last few months here and I simply cannot afford to miss anything! Besides, travelling helps me de-stress and I can finish my work better when I have something to look forward to...
Last Saturday I traveled with a group of friends to Andong (안동), a traditional city in the middle of South Korea. Some interesting facts about Andong:
- Andong is a very old city, founded around 1B.C.
- Being a very conservative city and a center for Confucianism, it produced many scholars.
- Many people started their first family name in Andong
- When Queen Elizabeth II visited Korea, she requested to visit the 'most Korean place in Korea'. Therefore she was brought to Andong for her birthday.
From Nopodong bus terminal Busan, it takes 2.5 hours to reach there. Initially I had hoped to stay a night there as I was actually visiting the city to see the famous Mask Dance Festival (안동 탈춤 축제). However due to some circumstances (the journey took too long, went to the wrong festival site, places in Andong too far, couldn't spend the night, etc.) we missed the whole Mask Dance Festival, which was the whole point of me wanting to visit there, and that made me quite sad for a couple of days. But anyway, what can't a few videos on Youtube solve nowadays? :-)
After we got off the inter-city bus at Andong bus terminal, we took the No. 46 local bus to Hahoe Traditional Village - UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There were miles and miles of flat terrain planted with rice which shone golden yellow in the afternoon sun. The surrounding low mountains and traditional houses in between made the whole place look like a painting... Also, the weather was beautiful, the sun was above our heads but it was not hot at all.
Walked around, taking pictures of the curious folk village houses, which people still live in today. Saw some traditional Korean playground with the very high swing, and played jumping see-saw with my friends... one of the guys even fell down cos he lost balance!
Some pretty autumn scenery...
|Even bees come out to play - they had this magenta pink flowers all over the place which was so beautiful!|
|Autumn is persimmon season... many ripe ones dangling from the trees, out of reach!|
A spider dangling from the bare branches.
A tame Jindo dog (진돗개) which craves for attention and instinctively turned around for me to pat it when I got close!
Caught the Farmers' Song performance....... although this was not the main event I wanted to see.......
|Traditional cow - can you see the size of its dangling 'balls'? Hehe...|
|Planting of the paddy then harvesting...|
Reached the 삼신할매 (grandmother wishing tree) which grants wishes like abundance, harvest, child-bearing etc. We wrote our wishes on a thin strip of paper and tied it to the tree branches.
Stopped to take picture of some souvenirs but didn't buy........ Andong mask magnet, straw-weaved bird house, straw-weaved baby shoes...
Finally, saw the wide river terrain which Kok Shin, Nic, Xuan, Jo etc visited last spring! It was really amazing....... grandeur scenery in the sunset........
|Tried to take some nice pose there...|
Exiting Hahoe Folk Village, and its beautiful scenery...
|Cute Korean baby on the bus|
For dinner, of course we had to try the specialty braised chicken dish andong jjimtak (안동찜닭). There was a long street of andong jjimtak shops, and one of them had an impossibly long queue of people, possibly the most famous there. We were so famished, having skipped lunch, so we went to the opposite shop to eat. Hmmm... compared to the pongchu jjimtak chain restaurant near PKNU, this dish was too sweet and less spicy. But still, it tasted so great served with steaming hot rice! The gravy was thick and the chicken was tender, along with some vegetable strips and carrot and potato. Skipped the andong soju cos it cost 10,000won per bottle. Too expensive...
Lastly, called it a day and left by bus at 8.30pm! (Last bus back to Busan is 8.30pm...) Missed the nice fireworks show at Hahoe Traditional Village cos we didn't have time. Anyway, it was a good time especially to hang out with the new Malaysians and bring them around. :-)