Last weekend was spring break for my kiddos here in South Korea so the whole family headed out for a week-long vacay. Our first stop was the Damyang Bamboo Garden. This place is smaller than I expected, but was nonetheless beautiful. If you are planning on going, I recommend combining this garden with another stop as it won’t keep you occupied for more than 30 min to an hour.
Below is a photo of a group of children on a field trip to the garden. In all my travels throughout Korea, I’ve never seen a group of children not dressed the same when on a field trip with a school. So cute!
My family and I took a trip to Pyeongchang, South Korea this weekend for a bit of sightseeing and skiing. I had hoped to see the world renown Harbin Festival ice sculptures, but alas, they had partially melted by the time we arrived. You would have never guessed that it was warm a few days before our arrival though, because while we were there we experienced blizzard conditions as you’ll see in the below photographs. Despite the weather, we really enjoyed our trip, having stayed at a traditional Korean hostel and skied the entire second day. What an adventure!
I went on a photo walk this week at the Hyeonchungsa Shrine in Asan with a fellow photographer friend. I’ve been to this location many times, usually for family photo shoots. Every season changes the landscape completely, which makes returning here time and time again so much fun!
500 year old Ginko trees
Last week I accompanied our local photo club on a photo walk to Gakwonsa Temple in Cheonan. As a Christian, visits to temples do nothing for me spiritually. That said, I do enjoy the beauty and detail of these ancient buildings (Gakwonsa is not an old temple, however) and the wonder of God’s landscape that surrounds them. Here is a peek into South Korea’s second largest Buddhist temple.
Korean hikers along one of the nature trails that surrond the temple
Ceiling tiles that you can buy and then write your name on to place along the wall. I believe the proceeds go to upkeep of the temple and grounds
Last weekend my family and I spent 3 nights and 4 days camping in Seoraksan National Park. It rained for the first portion of our trip, creating amazing fog and low-lying clouds in the forest. It was a truly spectacular sight! Some of the leaves were beginning to change their colors, revealing the bright oranges and reds that signify the coming of fall, but the season had just begun, and so in many areas the colors had not yet changed. I felt that, in these spots of the park, it would be better to illustrate the majesty of the landscape in black and white.
Stopping to see Singeung-sa Temple was a must, simply because, according to Dr. Jon Carter Covell, oriental art authority, it is the oldest Zen temple in the world. The temple was originally built in 652 AD and then rebuilt in 710 and 1648 due to fires.
While in the area, we made a point to visit Sokcho, a gorgeous fishing town on the northeastern coast of South Korea. It lies so close to the forest that you can see it in the background of the coastal pictures below. The rain taunted even the last days of our trip, but in making lemonade out of lemons, we were blessed to witness rays of sun poke through threatening storm clouds unlike any I’ve seen before. I had a really difficult time picking which of the many photos I took of this scene to post for you all! I should also mention that through the break in the clouds the fresh sky became an amazing turquoise blue, highlighting the already unbelievably blue East Sea water! If you get a chance to see Sokcho, pay a visit to its two famous lighthouses: the Lighthouse Observatory and a little pink lighthouse just off the main pier. The people here are super friendly, but then again, you’d be hard pressed to find a Korean anywhere on the peninsula who wasn’t friendly, selling a dizzying array of seafood. Do not leave Sokcho without trying the squid, as it is said that the creature is best served in this coastal fishing town. My daughter ordered hers stuffed and loved it! As always, our puppy went along for they journey. You’ll find a picture of her in here as well!
My boys along a walking path
I went on a photo walk with a local group of photographers to Yongmasan Mountain last weekend. Despite keeping our fingers crossed on the way up this steep climb, the Korean haze never did clear. I made the most of view by highlighting in these photographs what a typical day under Korean (actually, probably blowing over from China) haze looks like. Even through smog one can witness the glory of God and the amazing talent He bestowed on man to create metropolises as great as Seoul! What a trip!
Our latest family adventure took us to Gosu Cave. This is one of Korea’s most famous caverns, located in Danyang (about 2.5 hours from Camp Humphreys). This cave is open year-round and has amazing limestone formations and clear underground pools! I’ve been to a number of caves, but this one just might be my favorite because it has a more “authentic” feel. By this I mean that unlike the overly protected and cautious caves in America, in Gosu you walk along steep corridors, can touch and feel everything and must crouch and squeeze to get through many of the twists and turns. This also made it super difficult to get quality photos because there was almost no areas for a tripod. For this reason, you’ll notice grain and a bit of blur in a few of the photos.
Included in these pictures is the adorable city of Danyang and its picturesque bridge. On the way home we drove through a bit of Woraksan National Park. What a gorgeous area! There are multiple camping grounds, creeks and rock formations that go for miles! We decided to be a bit adventurous and took our car on a dirt trail there (not recommended, by the way). Happy adventuring!
Employee taking a snooze
Clear water pools
Some walkthroughs were so small that you had to turn sideways for crawl!
This area was closed to the public
Woraksan National Park
Off roading in our car in Woraksan National Park