Friday, April 02, 2010

Trip to Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea - Feb 2nd 2010

The plan for today was to visit Naesosa (Naeso Temple) and chaeseokgang which is a set of caves that can be reached from the beach. Ju-min drove us there and including a few rest stops and one throwing up stop for my niece (in front of a family cemetary) it took about two and a half hours to get there. The GPS did its job well.

Rest stop feature.

Expressway rest stop.

Sweet potato fries.

Maximum speed of 90, minimum of 30.

Cemetary next to the road near Naesosa.

Mountains surrounding Naesosa.

Naesosa has a famous fir forest pathway complete with speakers and enlightening thoughts and music. It is a peaceful place surrounded by beautiful mountains but so cold. At the temple is a 1000 year old tree and a very old temple without paint or nails. There was a sign, well hidden I must admit, asking that photos not be taken. Honestly, I didn't notice it until the second time I looked at the temple. Man it was cold down there. My hands hurt after taking photos.

Iljumun - Gate at entrance to Naesosa.

Fir tree walk to Naeso Temple complete with enlightening sayings.

Cemetary at Naesosa.

Perhaps these turtles are protecting the temple.

Sacheonwangsang - Four Gods protecting the temple - first god.

Sacheonwangsang - Four Gods protecting the temple - second god.

Sacheonwangsang - Four Gods protecting the temple - third god.

Sacheonwangsang - Four Gods protecting the temple - fourth god.

Naesosa complex with one thousand year old tree on the left.

Thousand year old tree and Sacheonwangsang.

Main building at Naesosa.

Altar inside main building.

Intricate woodwork inside main building.

Unpainted eaves.

Interesting furnace.

Inside another building.

Naesosa is nestled in amongst the mountains.

Rocks stacked for good luck.

Building housing a drum and a bell.

Ancient bell.

Ancient drum.

Ancient fish.

Eaves and mountain.

Lunch was mountain vegetables bibimbap. Didn't look great but tasted very nice. The people running the restaurant were very keen for our business as there weren't a lot of visitors about. As the temple is quite famous I expect it would be packed in summer.

When we were at the restaurant the owner noticed that Miky wasn't feeling well. She rubbed her hands vigourously and then her arms before wrapping her thumbs with thread, squeezing and stabbing just above the nail to draw blood. Miky, with her upset stomach, actually felt better. But not for long. I suspect that it just took her attention away from her ailment.

Funny thing about the GPS is that it needs to be programmed correctly to work and so finding chaeseokgang in Gyeokpohang proved to be of a higher difficulty. It is a cliff that can be reached from the beach at low tide which, unfortunately for us, happened two hours before our arrival. So, we could only view it from the shore. They did have a mermaid statue there however. Can't for the life of me think why.

Whilst we were looking for the place, which wasn't well signposted for a well known feature, we struck up a conversation with a person walking by, who was himself a visitor, and he informed me of our misfortune. His sister was studying in Melbourne and his English wasn't bad at all. Nevermind, it was still kind of interesting. My niece threw up in the toilets nearby.

Beach at Gyeokpohang.

Chaeseokgang - caves in the cliffs at the beach.

Korea's version of Den lille havfrue (The Little Mermaid)?

Down at the beach - it was a few hours ago though.

On the drive home we saw the saemangeumcheol sea wall. I think that it was something like 4 kms long and Miky said that it would be used to relcaim land from the sea. About this time my niece was sick again. She doesn't travel well. Our mission on the return leg was to purchase insam ddalgi, or ginseng strawberries. They're not really gingseng strawberries but strawberries grown in an area where ginseng had been grown and used as fertiliser so that some of the taste and nutrition would be passed on. The mission took a while, with an accidentally aborted detour into Buan where Ju-min exited the motorway and re-entered even before getting into the town. Not long after we came across a road stall selling them. Pity it wasn't manned and nobody was in the adjacent house. Further down the road was another stall and the lady from the stall on the other side ran over, and was nearly hit by a truck in the process, to provide some for tasting. We purchased one bowl for W15,000 (A$15). They are delicious and very sweet.

Roadside shop for insam ddalgi - ginseng strawberries.

Reasonably uneventful 141km trip back otherwise. Apart from nearly collecting another vehicle after overtaking lanes and having overtaken a truck, that is. Fuel cost W1639/L. LPG is W910~940/L and diesel is W1340/L.

Miky was crook all day so she didn't really enjoy her journey to the famous bibimbap area nearly as much as she had hoped to.

Did I say it was cold? When we went sledding it was -8°C my feet were never cold even though I only had sneakers on. At Naesosa the wind ripped through my sneakers like icicles. It was cold up there. Apparently it was -10°C.

After dinner The Boy and I walked to Lotte Mart. I was to purchase some jeon bok juk for Miky and must have asked well enough because they knew what I wanted. But, there wasn't any left. I bought hobak juk (pumpkin porridge) instead. It was supposed to be good for an upset stomach. With leftover money from his last visit to Korea and W20,000 given to him by Mi-ja, The Boy purchased a nerf gun and additional bullets. I bought a USB charger for his MP3 player.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All I can say is Wow.