Right before Christmas, we got our first actual snow! At the last minute, some of our friends decided we should all go on a road trip three hours outside of Seoul to Yongpyong Ski Resort. Everyone in the group had been skiing or snowboarding for quite some time, except Stephanie. This would be her first time, but after promising to teach her, she agreed to the impromptu trip. Continue reading
So this is it: our final post about the wonderful village of Andong. If you have made it this far, thanks for sticking around and we hope that you enjoyed seeing a bit of South Korean culture. In the second part of our Andong adventure, we have breakfast made for us, visit the traditional Hahoe Village (UNESCO World Heritage Site), eat more jjimdak, and wander the empty countryside. Continue reading
As I am sure you all have noticed, we have been featuring the wonderful town of Andong on the blog recently. We have already shared some of our pictures and stories with you, however we also put together some video so you, too, can feel like you boarded that 7:20 a.m. express bus with us into this quaint and beautiful village. Continue reading
During our time in Korea we have enjoyed many of the strange “rooms” that are available. There are PC rooms, DVD rooms, and singing rooms ( Noraebangs) that give patrons the opportunity to utilize equipment, games, and spaces that they do not have at home. In this installment of Let’s go to… we explore a Multi Space Cafe that has many of these features rolled into one. Continue reading
Okay, so we made a post about this earlier and included some of our pictures of this gorgeous national park, but we also shot a bit of video on the way to the top and thought we would share it with you as well! As you may already know, we like to make the occasional video and even have a vlog on Youtube. So, for the fifth installment of Let’s go to… Continue reading
Since Saturday is one of our days off and we tend to utilize these days for maximum adventure/pleasure/relaxation, we sought out a wonderful use of our Saturday last weekend. On our last trip to Itaewon we saw banners and posters for an International Festival coming up so we put the date into our calendars and kept the day tentative. Continue reading
It’s that time of year back home. That magical time when people gather together, grill meat, drink beer, and paint their bodies crazy colors. College football season. We miss many things from back in the states, but whenever our Facebook newsfeeds are plastered with pictures of tailgating and friends going to the games, we get a twinge of jealousy and homesickness. Continue reading
It is now fall, and though the leaves have yet to change colors, the temperatures have been amazing, so this past weekend we decided to spend another day out in the beautiful sunshine! This weather has been perfect for being outdoors and filming some of our videos. Continue reading
Hey guys! As you may already know, in the past we had our weekly episodes of A Day in the Life where we showed you a bit of what’s it’s like to be an ESL teacher in Korea. Recently, however, our school has been undergoing some major changes and has been bought out by their corporate headquarters to become a branch. It has been really hectic ever since trying to get everything prepped for this new buyout, and so we have decided to take a hiatus from this segment while things settle down a bit more. Instead we thought we’d like to try a new chapter, called Let’s Go To… where we explore Korea and show you our days off from teaching. Hope you all enjoy our first installment!
The name literally translates into south (nam) Han (river in Seoul) mountain (san) fortress (seong). Most of the fortress today dates back to the Joseon period in the 17th century. The sixteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Injo, fled to the fortress with his entire court and over 13,000 soldiers during the second invasion of the Manchu (the largest branch of the Tungusic peoples chiefly distributed throughout China). 3,000 monks also helped to defend the king, however the Manchus were able to wait until the food supply ran out and the king was forced to surrender giving his sons as hostages.
In 1954, after years of neglect, the site was made into a national park after many renovations and repairs. The area once had nine temples along with many command posts, but today a single command post, Seojangdae, stands as well as a temple, Changgyeongsa. Seojangdae is where Injo stayed during the Manchu siege. A second story was added to this building in 1751 and was named Mumangnu meaning the “Unforgotten Tower.” This refers to the unforgettable shame of the king’s surrender to the Manchus. There are other more recent temples on the path up to the south gate and fortress walls and the north, south, and east gates have all been restored.
It has been the hottest summer recorded in Korea and so we haven’t really wanted to get out and go hiking very much recently. It’s not just the heat, Korea has some pretty awful humidity. We tried to hike Surisan a few weeks ago and ended up stopping halfway up because we were getting sick from the heat. When the humidity is that bad, it feels like you are in the middle of a rain forest. This week however, the heat finally let up a bit and we headed southeast of Seoul for Namhansanseong.
It took us about an hour and a half to get to the park from Anyang. We finally got there around 2:30. We got off the bus at the very bottom of the park entrance, and hiked for quiet some time before stumbling across a road. There we realized that, if we had stayed on the bus a little bit longer, it would have kept going and dropped us off halfway up the mountain!
It was about an hour and a half hike from the bottom to the south gate, but we were also stopping often to take pictures and video. We then hiked along the ridge of the mountain towards Seojangdae, but got a little lost on one of the trails we ventured down. There are so many hiking trails all over the mountain to explore and unfortunately it got too dark to keep going. Needless to say, this park is huge and was way too big for us to see in just one day, so we will definitely be going back again! We hear that it is especially beautiful in the fall when the tress are changing red and yellow.
Ryan & Stephanie