(November 22-December 9, 2002)
First Weekend: Daegu
Despite my jet lag,
we managed to get out and see Donghwasa Temple in Mt. Palgongsan,
just north of Daegu.
Home to a huge standing Buddha in a courtyard
built into the side of the mountain.
A view from some of the hiking trails on Mt. Palgongsan near the temple.
No, Buddhist monks aren't Nazis.
It's a reverse swastika,
so maybe they're the exact opposite... "Antinazis?"
Later, exploring the city on my own...
Second Weekend: Andong
About an hour's bus ride north of Daegu.
The Jebiwon Buddha, just outside of Andong to the north.
The body is carved out of the mountain;
the head and hat are separate rocks added later.
On the way to Musil Folk Villiage we found
a cool park full of weird abstract modern art,
with a cute little gazebo overlooking it all.
Unfortunately much of the actual village was in shadow
by the time we got there.
But we did get to watch some folks working on re-thatching the roofs!
Sunset on the river below the folk village.
Sunday's main trek:
We took a bus out to a nearby town,
and then hiked several miles through the mountains
along a lovely narrow winding road,
to visit Korea's largest Ginkgo tree.
It was transplanted to this location (Yonggieri)
to keep it from being destroyed
by the construction of a dam nearby.
Some nice local folks,
who we couldn't actually talk with due to language difficulties,
gave us a lift a short ways on the trip out,
and then some others later drove us almost all the way back to town.
We were quite thankful,
because the bus ride and the hike out took longer than we expected
and it was already getting dark by the time we started heading back.
(OK, maybe we were just foolish -
but we had to see that tree!!)
Third Weekend: Pusan
Korea's main port city, about an hour and a half train ride south of Daegu.
The Pusan Aquarium is this amazingly cool waterfront building -
built almost entirely under the beach.
The entrance just looks like a small visitor's center sitting on the beach,
but you go down an escalator and there are
several levels of cool aquarium stuff below the water line...
Penguins, divers, underwater tunnels...
Plus the usual tourist gimmicks...
And a new one: a minivan fish tank!
It was dark when we got out of the aquarium,
so we took a quiet walk through nearby Dongbaek Park
where we met some new furry friends.
The view of Gwangan Bridge from the park.
It turned out wet and rainy all day,
so what better time to go out slogging through the mud
at a mostly-outdoor botanical garden?
(Geumgang Park, in Dongnae-gu)
Thankfully, not all of the garden was outdoors.
Finally, Chungnyeol Shrine,
a temple and war memorial to the Korean heroes
of the resistance against the Japanese invasions.