There are plenty of places to visit in Yeongam!
Wolchul National Park
A must see place around the Yeongam F1 circuit is undoubtedly a Wolchul National park! This place is so beautiful!
It has a Wolchul Memorial park right next to a 2000 year old village. You can eat traditional food in a small restaurant in the local village. And then enjoy the beauty of the mountain view. Mountains here have a rock and forest mix surface which adds to its beauty and uniqueness. There are few mountain climbing paths to climb the highest Wolchul mountain.
In the memorial park you can read a short history of a Doctor Wang-In’s life, who was a great Korean architect and for that was noticed by the kings.
It is memorable to just have a walk around a park. The entrance is free and it is beautiful and peaceful at any season.
Mokpo city, Peace square (평화광장)
During the F1 a numerous performances and festivities can be spotted at the Peace Square of the Mokpo city. It is especially great to visit because of its location next to the sea port. With a great view on open water during the day time, you can also enjoy the Fountain laser show at night. In the day time there are many booths for people to learn about Korean culture: wood crafting, paper embroidery, games, traditional snacks and drinks. Many Korean as well as foreigner families with kids gather to enjoy the square. At the evening time the performances start. This year it was a World Traditional Music festival. Troops from the whole world (from the country participants in F1) were showing their traditional dances, songs and plays.
The performances went up until 11pm so after having a seafood course meal, you can go dancing under tunes of World folk songs and go to sleep before hitting the next day.
Moreover, there are plenty of Seafood restaurants there. Almost all of them along the beach area are seafood places. KTO organizers took us to one of those restaurants.
I don’t even remember the interior of the place, because all we saw is a colorful yummy all set up dinner.
It is a course meal which won’t ever leave your stomach empty and discontent. But those, who can’t handle any of seafood including fried fish, can order vegetable bibim-pap.
You can try there fried, boiled, fresh seafood in a variety of soups, salads, baked dishes, porridges, sushi etc.
Best Korean friends: mixed Soju and Beer called SoMek (Soju + Mekju) was a wild spice of the evening.
Pundana Banana -
Modern generation: “We say that all traditional stuff is too old for us, it is too far from our understanding. And yet, it is the closest to the best experiences that help to run away from the urban flash-like fast moving life”.
Hanok – is the name for a traditional Korean house that is 100% made from wood and all naturally-can-be-found-or-made materials. It was not rare in old days to see somebody build a house from wood. But today it is. People who build such houses do it not only for the good of their own health, but also promote the health-living environment and traditions of their ancestors.
It is not a secret why wood is
one of the best materials to make a house from. It is warm, it preserves warmth
and it is a living material, so its residents will enjoy the changing wood
scent throughout the 4 seasons of Korea. It also absorbs the sound from outside
and feels really comfy to stay inside throughout the day (familiar with a
feeling when you just want to escape the four walls of your cement-block
Hanok houses normally have a yard or even a small farm or a garden around it. I think it is a perfect example for a family house outside the city and frankly, it is my dream to have a house like that.
During my F1 trip to Yeongnam, which was organized by KTO (Korean Tourism Organization) me and my teammates were accommodated in such a house for a one night stay. The name of the house is Seo-mal-bok(서말복). I don’t know whether it is a name for a type of the house or it is a kind of address.The house was built recently in a new village that is next to beautiful Wolchul mountain and national park in the Jeollanam-do province of South Korea. Each house has a big land area around it which makes it look quite deserted, but at the same time really quite and beautiful.
The woman who built this house with her family was a Seoul citizen for her whole life. Having a heavy disease she could not stand the city any longer and initiated a project of a healthy, environment-friendly design for a house, in the beautiful Korean land far from the city. It was late in her 50s that she has made this decision with her husband. After the surgery she needed a quiet place to recover and enjoy a peaceful life close to nature.
She has met us and escorted on her car to the house. We came when it was already dark and since it is a rural area there were no lights at all, so we had no idea where we are and where we were going. But her friendly gestures killed all chances to doubt the situation. ^^ We thought it was just a place to stay and didn’t expect anything special. First, she showed us to our rooms.
The woman has prepared an old Korean traditional tea, served a table with rice-cakes, fruits and a pile of nut look shells called Eung-hae and gathered all of us around the table.The 1st thing we noticed is a nice atmosphere and warm colors. Later we found out that the whole house was made out of wood. Even the doors, similar to paper doors that I saw in Japanese movies, were also made of paper and wood. Huge clay pots of something: maybe Korean spice, rice and kimchi. ^^
We were very tired from the trip and it was a perfect time to rest, sip a tea from those small tea cups and chat. Moreover, the host lady has prepared a special drink for us: a cocktail from a local salty herb “Kalcho” (갈초) that she has gathered from the sea coastal area and mixed with yogurt and honey. It had a strange taste but she insisted on drinking it because it was just That good for our health and digestion. We took our time to enjoy all the snacks and that’s where we’ve asked her all the details about the house and her life here.
The house has 2 floors and normally 2nd floor is for guests A host lady is a member of a big church community so when other church members come to the province, they can visit and stay in her house anytime.
It took her almost 2 years to build this house and it wasn’t cheap at all. Although the house is made of all natural materials they didn’t neglect using all the latest technologies to merge the two worlds: all comforts from the city and nature environment of the village. So there was everything you can find in modern apartment: cold and hot shower, heating, lights, TV and computer (thought there was no Wi-fi), toilets inside etc. But when you open the window, you get slapped by a freshness of the air, coming from the mountains, trees and grass and can see the stars at its brightest and listen to the silence…. Me and other girls took our time to just sit near the window and enjoy the air and star view and share a light chat. It was only the tiredness that made us go back to our rooms and sleep.
Although we slept on a floor mats, it was warm and we had a great rest. The barking of two cute dogs has wakened us up.
It was a magic morning, with freshly prepared breakfast that consisted of Korean porridge, home-made soybean milk, eggs, salad and fruits. We didn’t want to leave, but it was a time to move on.
I liked staying in that house, even for one night. But I got a strong desire to come back and stay there again for longer.
Thank you, Seo-mal-bok! J
Pundana Banana -
The video of Misuda ceremony experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLHzvlZxvrs&feature=player_embedded
It is 3:30pm, Saturday September 8th (2012) and the majority of Misuda participants have already gathered at the ground of Seoul Namsan Traditional Theater of Namsan Hanok Village. The time has passed so fast while chatting and getting to know each other. The event organizers from KTO have announced the program details and we left to the downstairs dressing room.
The dressing room was full of many beautiful Hanbok dresses and hair decorations for girls as well as King traditional dresses for Men. The choice was great enough and everyone chose the dress that caught his/her eye. Oh, and the white socks with “Misuda” logo on it! Thank you so much for keeping our feet warm from the cool floors. It was very kind consideration!
Next – we chose the right size of traditional shoes and went back to the ground where the table was all set for us to craft our own Jegi.
It would seem that making Jegi is very simple! But no, it was even more simple than everybody though ^^ Just 2 papers with printed Korean alphabets on it, a ring-like coin with a hole inside, a pair of scissors and a small string to tight everything up. Few manipulations and here it is, Jegi is ready to be kicked! However, it wasn’t easy to kick it while wearing a long Hanbok dress. I gave up after 2 trials.
After Jegi play we entered into a tea ceremony hall. The tea sets were all prepared and placed next to the pillows where we were supposed to be seated. And even the flowers, the Korean flowers were almost coloring the whole space into a special mood.
Out teacher on tea manners sat in the middle in front of everyone and greeted us with a slow half bow. She taught us how to bow, all the 3 bow types, I simply call them half-bow, “middle”-bow and full-bow, its meaning and the situations when we can use each type of bow.
Next, the helping lady has poured hot water to a special pot of each of us. And the real tea preparation has begun.
Moving around, taking and placing the utensils for the tea should be graceful, confident and slow. We’ve imagined that the guest is sitting in front of us and we were to serve him. The teacup should be held in both hands to show full thoughtfulness, respect and attention to a guest. Slowly proceeding with the tools every one of us has poured hot water into a teapot with green tea leaves in it and closed the cover for it to brew.
By the way, it is said that the tastiest tea comes out from the 2nd and 3rd brewing as it is not bitter and the tea color is clearer.
One more interesting tip: the teacup has to be warmed before we pour tea into it. We’ve just warmed it with hot water that we’ve used previously for the tea itself.
After the tea was ready and was offered to an imaginary guest, we’ve actually started tasting it by ourselves, also very slowly, sip by sip as one small teacup should be drunk in 3 sips.
When I was just started thinking that the ceremony is over, three beautiful Korean ladies entered the room carrying Korean traditional instruments with them. It was a peak of the event, when we were sitting there, slowly sipping the tea, tasting Korean traditional desserts and listening to beautiful melody of Korean traditional songs. There were just moments of pure calmness and full absorption into the world of tea and beautiful music. The last musical piece that everyone loved the most was a variation of the soundtrack to a recent Korean drama called Isan (이산). I am still looking for it, can’t forget the song.
The event was loved by everyone as people won’t stop making pictures after everything has finished and didn’t really want to leave the place. It was one of the best deep dives into Korean culture that I’ve had a chance to experience till now.
I am very grateful to KTO members to make it such a great time for all for us!