Wednesday 3 june 2015.
This morning we were all pack and set to go. Yesterdaynight we wrote our postcards that we finally found and I went bying stampes and sending in the postoffice across the hotel. We had a private bus to take us outside the city where we would start a hike in the mountains to the Beomeosa temple where we would join the monks in a templestay.
DJ acting funny
at the temple the guardians crush the demons and evil spirits. I thought demons and evil spirits looked a bit different :-)
cellphone panarama and someone walking in my view!
DJ making a face to me
I was not really in shape this day so hiking didn't went that well like in the last days. Anyway the hike really worth it.
First you need to surive a busride. More than an hour and you're still in the city!!! Busan is like Seoul: infinite!
The hike in the forests and mountains has some great viewpoints. The only thing you see is the city, the city and nothing but the city and it's skyscrapers. Impressive.
So after a very slow hike we arrived at the temple. We were nicely welcomed by a lady and show to our quarters. we would sleep in a room on the ground, all men together and the girls apart.
We wore our special very comfortable pijama's that we got from the temple.
Then we attended our first session. The Monk, director of PR explained the rules and the do's and don'ts, we went attending a prayer.
gathering with the mnk - noone of the groud could sit still in that position for that long haha!
Idid the 108 bows, I survived and thank god I'm quite in shape :-) I wearing my beads-necklace with pride
We went to dinner. Which is a complete ritual. you need to do some handlings in a certain defined way and use yuor bowl in a defined way. Anyway the veagn food I loved.
We got to rest a bit and we then summoned to do the 108 bows while making a bead mandala necklace. 108 bows! Thank god I do some sports!!! getting up and down wiht your forehead to the ground 108 times non-stop: some really had it in their pants hahaha!
anyway i succedded without being quite exhausted.
We had to go sleep very early as we had to wake up at 5u30.
most beautiful groupshot ever I think
Very early morning walk to the meditation hermitage...the walking purple dead
We slept kinda well.
So we were there for mediation and afterwards we could have breakfast.
We also made a short hike to some viewpoint hermitage in the forest behind the Beomeosa temple and meditated for half an hour.
Then we had some free time and again we were summoned to have a chat with tea with the monk.
And then it was done and we left with the bus to our last stop: the amazing cultural historic city of Gyeongju!
Morning tea with the monk and having a chat - again sitting too long in the same position hahaha, but we had serious talks.
Friday 29 may 2015.
Today we took the stoptrain to Hadong in the middle of the Mountains. The trip lasted 3 hours and from the station we went on foot with our luggage in the sun to our motel, only 15 minutes away. Hadong is a region, but the city itself is very sleepy. Though is seems to have a few 100.000 inhabitants. This would be one of the most slow paced moment of the trip. Time to relax.
After freshing up we took a bus to the plum factory. Actually this was more an afternoon walk as the Plum factory was open to visitors and you could stroll around the plumfields on your own. We just visited the visitorcenter where we could taste just a tiny sip of some plumjuice (and didn't buy any of the really expensive plum-products).
We walked a bit around and after a small hour we just relaxed at a viewpoint. There are lots of viewpoints in Korea woodenpagoda-like huts where you jsut can picknicnk or relax. We came a across a group of Korean tourists, businessman on a daytrip. The boss was the loudest but he shared the food with us ;-) A nice custom in Korea: sharing your food.
When we returned, me and my mate again strolled a bit through the city but so far nothing much to see. As we had to buy lunch for the next day we really looked in the supermarket for Kim bab. One of the workers pointed out the kim and then pointed at the regoin with al kinds of food and made clear we could buy this and make it ourselves....
not our aim. In a local small shop I asked Kim Bab and then the women took a paper the tried to explain. Together with a man that was in the shop. It took them 10 minute sto explain something really simple and the only words I could understand was policestation and bank and that it was not far from there.
My mate said He had seen the policestation already. It was just a few meters away lol.
Then there was the bank and then there was a small restaurant even called Kim Bab.
We entered and asked kim bab to take away. We had freshly made kim bab two big rolls each for 3000 won each.
That is like for free!!!
We were so happy and kept the food in our fridge in our room.
In the evening we went eating chinse :-)
The next morning we took the bus to the teaplantage. Plans had changed as to the rainy weather and actually we could do more this day, like all activities for which we normally would have split up.
And we enjoyed a really traditional tea ceremony.
After that we took the bus to one of the nicest temples in the Jrisan Mountain region: the Ssyangyesa Temple. There were luckily not that many people and the rain really was just a continous curtain of very small drops...not even to worry about.
We strolled the temple for an hour before we met at the pathway to make a hike to the Burill falls in the forest.
The climb was not that heavy and the temperature was really gone down so it was quite easy. Which did not mean we were not sweating. After a short time we were ahead of the rest again and yeah walking in the dense green wet forest with no sounds but our steps and sometimes a bird and woodpeckers I really become zen haha!
We saw those small Korean Squirells enjoying eating nuts! So funny! And at a resting point again some totems. The we had to climb more as the rain began to become a bit harder. We came across a temple and sheltered there. Everything was closed but there were clearly people lving here high up in the mountains. Suddenly a monk came out and invited us in to shelter. I kindly kinda refused but he opened a door and invted us in and disappeared. Then I realized and my companions also that we couldn't resist this invitation so we took of our shoes and got inside. Shortly after the monk returned with a watercooker and made us some excellent tea.... he hardly spoke English but seemd to understand it better and really did made an effort to listen and be interested in us. Actually this moment: having tea while sheltering in the Monk's premisses with the Monk was magic and a once in a lifetime experience.
Shortly after our other companions crossed the temple and were invited too. They had already been to the falls so while they were having tea, we wnet to the falls. I've seen bigger falls, but the Burill falls well the whole context and moment and place made it just perfect.
The way down went a lot faster still in the rain. and the forest was smoking clouds of the heat and the rain. So beautifull.
We joined after taking a bus the others who didn't do the hike at the folk village. Not so interesting actually but guess you needed to have seen it. I enjoyed the natural surrounding and agricultural scens and ricefiedls more.
In the evening with a few people that didn't want to barbecue we went looking for a local restaurant. The waiter didn't quite understand what we wanted. We pointed as always to the dish of our neighbours and made a sign of 7 persons.
Maybe they took that as 7 bowls... as they don't want mistakes he called his mother i guess.
Bulgogi it was, as the women said that one word I could understand. Then she came with a ordermenu in Korean... and made clear we had to fill it in... we hadn't got a clue.
We sat down figuring out how we could make the understand. As I was always doing the job I waited a bit, but then one of us stood up with the order, went to the neighbours explained in gesutres what they ate and made them point it in our order and we just ordered 2 bowl of that dish which would be sufficient for 7 people.
Then the boy was that and looked happy: this was something clearly reasonable :--) As always the food was excellent!
We found our mates sitting in a bar with overpriced smoothies (8000 won!! was by far the most expensive smoothie ever!!) So we closed the night and had a really pleasant relaxed day.