After a great experience staying at a traditional homestay, our hostess called a taxi for us and we said our goodbyes. The countryside was heavily laden with fog, so our ride to the Hahoe Village was quite dramatic. With limited visibility, the mystique of what was beyond our range of perception created a real anticipation for what was to come. We arrived at the UNESCO World Heritage site just in time for the shuttle. We paid our 2,000 won each and received a free set of audio tour guide devices in English. At the village, we were disappointed that the fog had lifted so much, but the lighting was still promising for pictures.
We meandered down dirt roads and and through the narrow alleys that made up the spiderweb network of roads in Hahoe. We say this regularly in our Korean adventures, but this place was beautiful. Every step revealed more fascinating residences and views of historical accuracy that left us awestruck. The traditional stones that composed each half-wall were like stepping stones leading us on to the next family’s house from the Ryu dynasty. We witnessed modern men laying fresh straw on traditional roofs to prepare for the oncoming winter, and walked dirt roads that lead to perfect nowheres. The whole complex was laden with famous sites and fantastic sights, but the sheer simplicity of the place was what put us into a state of comfort and ease.
Click to enlarge!
We had a terrific lunch of Andong jjimdak (again…when in Rome…) at a small restaurant in the village where a cat took to Stephanie immediately. The food was incredible and we had a great outdoor meal despite the owners insistence that we dine indoors. Ryan has long legs and struggles to fit under the tables available in floor seated establishments. After dinner we ambled back through the village in a different path than which we had come. We found many areas of new interest and continued our fantastic experience. Along the edge of Hahoe Village we found a small “forest” near the bank of the river which we explored extensively.
After taking many pictures and venturing up and around the whole area, we eventually needed to head back towards the entrance to collect our bags and board a bus to the Andong Bus Terminal. The bus ride was not long and we were soon back on a 3 hour bus journey back into Seoul. Our time in Andong had been terrific and much needed. The traditional side of Korea cannot be missed on a visit. The heritage and culture of this place cannot be understated. We recommend the Hahoe Village to anyone who wants to see what a traditional neighborhood looked like in Korea’s past; before the high rises and ultra-modern architecture. Get out of the city, see what fantastic things came before.