Spring is here! It sure took a while. Wonju, being up north and all, still has its chilly days, but here too the trees are blooming.
In mid-April, the gang gathered in Gyeongnam for a weekend getaway in the countryside of Hwagae, just north of Hadong-gun. I met most of the group at Ginna's place in Jinju to crash Friday night. Jams & doodles ensued.
|The funniest foot massager thing|
|A deck of Bali cards|
The next morning, we took the two buses to get to the marketplace in Hwagae (화개장터).
The day was beautiful and hot, and the market was bustling.
|Hahaha this kid|
|Ummm.. Korea's stance on sex really confuses me. It seems to flip-flop (flap) between two extremes.|
|Oyster shucker shucking the biggest oysters ever|
|This man wanted a picture with Kat sooo badly|
|Cutest old halabujis and halmuni having a makgeolli hangout sesh|
|Lethal weapons at your family-friendly market|
|Demo model only|
After perusing the busy marketplace, we started our walk towards the temple. It ended up being a longer trek than we had expected, but the views that flanked both sides of the road the whole way up were worth the trip.
|Something about the church/cathedral in the hills reminded me of Lord of the Rings|
|Everything was super green, even the spiders!|
|Erick hopped over to the other side of the river-creek|
|Hwagae has tea fields too!|
|The entire length of "blossom road" is lined with cherry blossom trees. I imagine it must've been even more beautiful when they were in full bloom the week before.|
|One of the super western looking houses|
|Village on the hill|
Midway to the temple, we stumbled upon Planet 1020, a picturesque little cafe seemingly in the middle of nowhere. This spot is a Hwagae gem. Its interior is straight out of a decor magazine.
|Love the stark white and blue|
|Super cool owner-barista, Mr. Min!|
As the sun began to set, we said our goodbyes to Planet 1020 and continued on our temple-bound journey.
|See the creepy looking scarecrow? Would scare more people away than birds I think.|
Erick and I fell behind the crowd while taking pictures, but when I saw this in the distance, I knew my friends would be there.
An abandoned shell of a resort, it looked like they'd run out of funds while they were still constructing the building.
Sad, ugly, and creepy... but cool to look at, as most abandoned buildings are.
|J, Gins, and Tay. They made it all the way up to the roof at one point!|
|Giant teapot sculptures amidst the tea brush|
We made it to the temple by sunset. The grounds were extensive and incredibly peaceful.
|Saturday Night Feverin' Buddha?|
|These used to scare the living daylights out of me as a child. You see them at almost every temple.|
|Beautiful marbled roses|
|As we left, I saw this "bath" house... hm.|
|Giant hand sculpture pouring a cup of tea-flowers|
After purchasing our goods from the market, we made our way to our "pension" (what Koreans call rented cottages/cabins/vacation houses here), which was truly far removed from anything and everything. Kevin, our forever-chef, got cooking.
|Tay was our main-man-griller - look how serious he is about his job lol. And Erick is all-smiles as he warms up his hands.|
|Ugh, yummm. Want some of this right now!|
|Kev's yummy udon|
Naturally, music followed dinner.
There was no light pollution where we were and the sky was a deep, deep black.
We went star-gazing on the hill behind our pension - we could see so many!
We woke up to a beautiful morning the next day.
|Jaimie's home-baked loaf|
Just before our cabs into town arrived, it began to rain heavily.
It was amazing to see both a clear sky and an equally alluring stormy sky, all in one morning.
|Looking back on our property|
Overall, an incredible weekend, away from city life, away from the sound of traffic, away from the neon lights. Couldn't have been more perfect! The return to Wonju was a four-bus trip from Hwagae to Hadong to Jinju to Daejeon to Wonju. Yikes. But again, entirely worth it. Such an amazing time with amazing people.
|Lunch in Jinju|
Next up, a honeymoon weekend on the beaches of Gangneung with my gal J.