Thursday, July 17, 2008

Adventures around Daegu, or the time in which I was not the only member of my family in Korea

So recently my Mum and my sister came over to Korea for a bit over a week. I managed to get a little time off work (two days) and we did some stuff in and around Daegu.

I met them in Seoul at the airport on a Sunday. My sister flew in early in the morning, so after storing her bags at the airport, we went into downtown Seoul and looked at one of the castles. We got there at a pretty good time, for just after we bought our tickets, a changing of the guard ceremony took place.

After a bit of wandering around, we had lunch at a food court and had one of the more Korean meals I've had for a long time. We then went back to the airport to pick up Mum. Then we caught the KTX back to Daegu and checked Mum and my sister into their hotel. The KTX was as always a smooth ride, and we got back to Daegu about 7ish. After checking into the hotel we got room service for dinner, which was quite pricey. About 80 bucks for two pizzas, a bottle of wine and a coke. I'm glad I wasn't pay.

I had to work the next day, so they did some exploring around Daegu on their own. The next day I spent the morning with them and we walked around the park near the hotel which has a few memorials, temples and a museum about a Japanese invasion from the late 1500s. Interesting, but not a lot of English.

Wednesday, like Monday, I didn't see them, but then on Thursday we went downtown and along with some sight seeing we went looking for new glasses for me. I'd needed to get new glasses for a while since on of the rims would occasionally have the screw holding it together come loose and the plastic bit that makes the shape of the legs (arms?) behind the ear was coming apart and if I took them off quickly would come off and stay behind my ear. I'd put it off because I really need a second opinion for these sorts of things as well as some prodding because otherwise there's a chance I'd have ended up commissioning some to make a replica of the old ones. I did however look through about three or four stores before finding a new pair that I liked. I'll tell more of that story and it's follow up in another post. After that, we walked around downtown for a bit until it was time for me to head back to work.

Friday I didn't see them in the morning, but they came over to Chilgok (the part of Daegu I live and work in) and we went to a galbi restaurant for dinner. We went to a place near my house where the staff know a few of us from work since we go there a bit, so we got pretty good service, as well as some service (in Korea, service means free stuff shops, bars and restaurants give to good customers, in this case we got three free bottles of coke). Everyone enjoyed the food, which is probably my favorite Korean dish.

Saturday we went to Palgong mountain, where I learnt that Koreans are part mountain goat. After the bus ride there we caught a cable car about halfway up the mountain. Mum decided she'd wait around the cable car where there was a restaurant, and my sister and I tried to climb the mountain. Let's just say we both failed. On our way back to the restaurant where Mum was waiting we passed an old man who had been sitting next to Mum on the bus. He'd climbed up from the bottom instead of taking the cable car and was keen to go the rest of the way. After getting some lunch we took the cable car down and walked around a temple which included a giant Buddha we could see from the restaurant.

Sunday was an easy day. We went downtown and walked around a bit. We had a look at what the tourist map called culture street, and were disappointed by the lack of culture there. Towel street had a ton of towels, and hardware street also had plenty of hardware. So culture street not having much culture was a surprise.

Monday we went to a village about an hour and a half away called Andong. This town has a lot of historical sites, a folk village museum where one of the guides followed us around for most of the museum adding extra bits of trivia along the way. The old folk village was interesting to look at but a bit samey after a while. And when most of the traditional houses had the traditional satellite dishes, it lost a little. Some nice sights though. The final stop was the Andong paper thingy which was a little too proud of the time the Queen visited. After getting back to Daegu we went for dinner at the Outback Steakhouse.

On Tuesday we were going to go to Hiansa temple, a world heritage listed temple that is the location of the Tripitaka Koreana, a famous Buddhist text. Indeed, we even went to the bus terminal and bought tickets there. While we were waiting for the bus though, we were reading the lonely planet and noticed that the whole place was closed on Tuesdays. So we spent a kind of easy day walking around not quite downtown Daegu. This included a hike up to Wubang tower, the highest building in Daegu, which is pretty easy when it's built on what seems like the highest hill in Daegu to start with, and the elevator reads 1 2 3 4 5 74 75 76 83, which makes me doubt if it's exactly that many stories high. From this vantage point I did notice the curious fact that all of the built up areas of Daegu are pretty much flat, and every hill of even modest height is not built upon, but has been left as a park.

Finally on Wednesday Mum and my sister caught the KTX back to Seoul, where they were going to stay until their flights on Friday. Thus ended their trip for me. More photos can be found here.

End Post
Writing time: 59 minutes
Time since last post: a while
Current media: The Hollowmen

No comments: