Category: Andong


Sunday, May 9:  In the morning, B & I slept in and then took off by bus to see Dosan Seowan, a Confucian school founded by Korea’s foremost Confucian scholar, Yi Toe-gye, whose portrait is on the front of the 1,000 won bill.  The complex is set on terraces and the architecture is classical Confucian style.  The best thing about this place is its setting.  It’s perched on the side of a mountain with a river below; it’s so beautiful 🙂  This was my favorite place in Andong… so peaceful and lovely….

the walkway to Dosan Seowan

the walkway to Dosan Seowan

the river around Dosan Seowan

the river around Dosan Seowan

me at Dosan Seowan

me at Dosan Seowan

The mountain cliff to the east of Dosan Seowan is Cheonyeondae, borrowed from the Book of Odes; it means “a kite flies high in the sky and fish play around in the pond.”  The cliff to the west of Dosan Seowan is Unyeongdae, quoted from a passage from Jujas poem, Gwanseoyugam “light, cloud and shadow turn and turn together.”  The combined name of the two cliffs, Cheongwangunyeongdae, is a place of nature constructed “to awake the profound meaning of nature and to speculate on the mysterious truth of nature.”

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowon

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

a monkey in a tree

a monkey in a tree

flowers on the grounds

flowers on the grounds

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

B at Dosan Seowan

B at Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Dosan Seowan

Finally, B had enough and decided to return home.  We returned to Andong, where she gathered her bags and took off for her home.  I, however, was determined to see the Jebiwon Buddha.  So I took another bus to this far-flung place.

Back in Andong

Back in Andong

A huge rock sculpture Buddha, the Jebiwon Buddha is believed to be a representation of the Amita Buddha.  Below the Buddha is the tiny temple Yeonmi-sa.  Jebiwon was disappointing in one way because I thought I’d have to hike deep into the woods to see it; instead it sits really close to the roadside and next to a flat park with no shade!  Since you can see it from the road, it could be just a drive-by.

walking up the steps to the Jebiwon Buddha

walking up the steps to the Jebiwon Buddha

the Jebiwon Buddha

the Jebiwon Buddha

Jebiwon Buddha

Jebiwon Buddha

The Jebiwon Buddha

The Jebiwon Buddha

Looking up at the Jebiwon Buddha

Looking up at the Jebiwon Buddha

However, when you walk up the stairs and past the little temple, the Jebiwon Buddha looms high on your right and another huge boulder is to the left.  In between is a good-sized cubicle where Buddhists can pray and make offerings to the Buddha.  Between these boulders it’s very cool, a lovely quiet respite from the heat!

walkway to the Jebiwon Buddha

walkway to the Jebiwon Buddha

a little sculpture along the walkway

a little sculpture along the walkway

the prayer grotto below the Buddha

the prayer grotto below the Buddha

the prayer grotto

the prayer grotto

I also sat in the little temple and tried to meditate for about 20 minutes (of course I’m never any good at that…); the temple was so cool and serene.  I loved it up close to the heart of this Jebiwon Buddha!!

the bell at Yeonmi-sa

the bell at Yeonmi-sa

Yeonmi-sa

Yeonmi-sa

Yeonmi-sa

Yeonmi-sa

lanterns strung up at Yeonmi-sa

lanterns strung up at Yeonmi-sa

walking back to Yeonmi-sa

walking back to Yeonmi-sa

Yeonmi-sa

Yeonmi-sa

Inside Yeonmi-sa

Inside Yeonmi-sa

the ceiling full of lanterns at Yeonmi-sa

the ceiling full of lanterns at Yeonmi-sa

I am realizing in my travels that all I need to make me happy is a cool breeze, a lovely setting, some nice music, and something unusual to look at.  I’m very easily pleased:-)

It takes me quite a long time to find a ride back to Andong from the Jebiwon Buddha because it’s quite off the beaten path.  I wait a long time by the road, trying to make some kind of sense out of the bus schedule, but I can’t decipher it; nor does any bus show up.  Finally a nice Irish couple who is wandering around offers me a ride back to Andong.  That’s good luck for me because, otherwise, I might still be there today. 🙂

 

Saturday, May 8:   On Saturday morning, my South African friend Buyiswa, better known as “B”, and I ventured to Andong for the weekend.  I planned the trip and invited B along.  I found a great cheap hotel for us to stay in; written up in my trusty Moon Handbook, it said “the chic Hotel California, in the center of town, is much smaller, newer, and more of a boutique hotel.”  I sent her the link, which shows a very modern and clean room; sadly, this link has since been removed because the Hotel California is now known as the Andong Hotel  (Official Site of Korea Tourism: Andong Hotel (formerly Hotel California)).  We were both very excited b/c it looked so good and was cheap besides.

B in front of the hotel california in andong.  You can check out but you can never leave....

B in front of the hotel california in andong. You can check out but you can never leave….

My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night…..
And I was thinking to myself,
‘This could be Heaven or this could be Hell’

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
‘Relax,’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!

~The Eagles “Hotel California”

I left my apartment at 9 am Saturday morning, took the subway to Dongdaegu Station and promptly went to the express bus terminal across the street.  The next three buses for Andong were full, so I bought a 7,300 Won ticket for the 10:37 bus.  It’s ~100 km to Andong, so the trip was about an hour and 50 minutes. B arrived in Andong before I did, and checked in to the hotel.  I called her from my bus and asked how was the hotel.  She said, it’s okayyyy….I’ll let you judge for yourself.

The place was deserted at the front desk and room 501 was like a sauna.  The air was dead and stifling from the lack of air conditioning and the decor was like a cheap honeymoon hotel in the Poconos…. dark silky bedspreads, little ruffled curtains over the beds, cigarette burns on the yellow velour couch.  The room seemed clean but a cheap and tired version of its bygone self.

We tried to find the proprietor to have him check our air conditioning, but he was nowhere to be found.  We stood at the front desk for some time, calling into the vacuum.  Finally, we gave up and left, dreading the return to our stifling room.

We caught a taxi to Hahoe Village, which is about 25 km out-of-town, because B wanted to see the mask dance at 2:00 — this at a cost of 25,000 won!  The mask dance was in session when we arrived, and as there was standing room only, we stood.  I found the dance pretty monotonous.  It went on for an hour, with various characters in masks performing some skits which I couldn’t understand because it was all in Korean.  One guy came out playing a town drunk, I think; he had the audience laughing their heads off.  Laughter is infectious, so I laughed along as the guy’s antics were perfectly ridiculous.

the mask dance at Hahoe Village

the mask dance at Hahoe Village

Mask dance

Mask dance

Mask dance

Mask dance

Mask dance

Mask dance

Mask dance

Mask dance

After the mask dance, we ventured to a little area where there are a bunch of totem poles.  Many of them have either huge penises, penises as noses, or multiple penises.  This was a great photo op!!  I heard later from my co-teacher Coffee J that Koreans believe these kinds of statues and carvings serve to protect communities from dangers.  They are quite ubiquitous throughout the country.

At Hahoe Village

At Hahoe Village

Totems

Totems

totems with penises at Hahoe Village

totems with penises at Hahoe Village

Penis envy at Hahoe Village

Penis envy at Hahoe Village

me with the totems at Hahoe Village

me with the totems at Hahoe Village

B with the totems at Hahoe Village

B with the totems at Hahoe Village

me playing totem

me playing totem

We then take a walk through Hahoe Village.  Hahoe Village is home to descendants of the Ryu clan of Pungsan and is well-known for its traditional houses. Birthplace of renowned scholars of the Joseon Period such as Gyeomam Ryu Un-ryong and Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong, the village became even more famous after Queen Elizabeth of England visited on April 21, 1999.

Hahoe Village (translated as “Village Enveloped by Water”) gets its name from the Nakdong River, which flows around the town’s perimeter. The village sits in the foothills of Hwasan Mountain, an offshoot of Taebaek Mountain that rises up to the east. The center of the village is populated by large tile-roofed houses belonging to the Ryu clan, adding their own unique charm to the surrounding thatched roofs.

Hahoe Village, along with Yangdong Village in Gyeongju, was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List under the category of “Historic Villages in Korea” on July 31, 2010 (Official Site of Korea Tourism: Andong Hahoe Village (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE)).

rice paddies

rice paddies

another totem in the village

another totem in the village

B takes a rest ^-^

B takes a rest ^-^

I take a rest

I take a rest

Hahoe Village

Hahoe Village

me at Hahoe Village

me at Hahoe Village

Hahoe Village map

Hahoe Village map

After Hahoe, B and I took another taxi to the Andong Dam.  Completed in 1976, it’s the 3rd largest dam in the country.  The view from the top of the dam was amazing and we wandered leisurely across the top until we reached a pavilion on the other side.  We then realized we were going to miss the next bus down, so we hurried back across the dam, only to see the bus zoom by, leaving us stranded.  Wandering out to the road, we started walking down toward town (too far to walk!!) and hoped for a taxi.  Alas, no taxis ventured past!

The view of the river from the top of the Andong Dam

The view of the river from the top of the Andong Dam

The view of the river from the top of the Andong Dam

The view of the river from the top of the Andong Dam

me at Andong Dam

me at Andong Dam

a viewing pavilion atop Andong Dam

a viewing pavilion atop Andong Dam

me in front of the viewing pavilion at Andong Dam

me in front of the viewing pavilion at Andong Dam

We came up a restaurant with two totem poles and a sign on a rock saying “Pub.”  We fell in love with the little totem guys, took some goofy pictures, then went into the restaurant (called Jungle Gym); I ordered a beer and B a non-alcoholic drink, and we sat on the patio at a picnic table.  The waitress called a taxi for us, and we headed back into town.

B and our two totem friends at the Jungle Gym Restaurant

B and our two totem friends at the Jungle Gym Restaurant

me at Jungle Gym restaurant

me at Jungle Gym restaurant

In town we ate a huge meal of Andong jjimdak, a steamed chicken dish which is meant for an army.  B and I tackled what we could but left a lot behind.

Andong jjimdak – a huge portion

B preparing to eat Andong jjimdak

B preparing to eat Andong jjimdak

the waitress at the restaurant

the waitress at the restaurant

Back at the Hotel California, we finally found the elusive proprietor and he informed us there was no air conditioning.  So… we opened the window and put on pajamas…and surprise!! the room was actually quite comfortable.  When it came time to go to sleep, B wanted to close the window.  I said, B, it’s too hot!  We can’t close the window!  She said, But I’m afraid someone might come in.  I said, B, we’re on the 5th floor!  How is anyone going to get in?  She looked carefully out the window.  I said, Don’t worry, I’ll sleep on the side nearest the window and I’ll protect you if by some weird chance someone comes in the window!

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