Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mysterious mt Maisan, Tapsa temple and Jeonju International film festival.

 This weekend, Newsbeat and I went on a trip with Seoul Hiking Group to Mysterious Mt Maisan, and Jeonju film festival.
Mysterious Maisan, and Tapsa temple are amongst the top 10 scenic places in Korea. I definitely recommend a visit. 

Mt. Maisan Provincial Park is located in Jinan-gun, Jeollabuk-do.

The cherry blossoms were just about still in bloom. The wind was blowing the petals off the trees covering people, and the ground in beautiful wispy light pink. 

There was a festival atmosphere around Tapsa temple when we visited, with various different performances.

My favourite performance was this traditional pansori (traditional Korean music). The group of girls drumming and synchronised dancing were completely mesmerising (I wish I could do that), it was amazing.

Tapsa temple is surrounded by lots of stone pagodas that were built by a hermit monk who lived there. He built over 120 pagodas, but only about 80 exist today. Apparently there is something very mysterious about these pagodas. No matter how bad the weather, even during storms, they somehow do not sway or fall. 
There is a myth that has been passed down through the generations regarding Mt. Maisan. It tells of two gods that came down from the sky, had a child and lived on earth for a while.

Another strange and interesting fact about Mt. Maisan are the gravity defying icicles during winter. Apparently if you put water a bowl, the water freezes upwards into a pole reaching for the sky. It is said that no one knows quite why or how this happens, making Mt Maisan all the more mysterious. Obviously we didn't actually get to witness this phenomena during May. 
After we visted the temple, we travelled to our love motel accommodation where we shared a room with two lovely Korean ladies.
Love motel
  Perhaps we were fated to meet....

They also kindly fed us snacks and performed an impromptu tea ceremony for us in our room, which was pretty sweet.

Later we went Makegoli tasting, here I tried black bean Makegoli for the first time. It wasn't bad, but I think I prefer rice wine Makegoli.

26 different side dishes were served to accompany the Makegoli.

Obviously there were several that I didn't try, but the broccoli was pretty tasty.

On the Sunday morning, we watched a Japanese film called 'blindly in love' at the international film festival. 

Film: Blindly in love, Director: ICHII Masahide

Film synopsis: 'An abnormally introvert man is blindly in love with a blind girl from a wealthy background. They love each other conditionally, but others see them in a different way. An impressive comedy'.

The film was slightly dark and obscure, the ending particularly bitter-sweet  There were plenty of comical references about Japanese family, relationships and marriage that kept the audience amused.

In the afternoon, we visited Hanok village and had a bibimbap cooking class

Jeonju is significant historically because it was the spiritual capital of Korea during the Joseon Dynasty and also because the Yi Royal Family originated there. There are gorgeous historical remnants, and an amazing folk village, and apparently it is the largest and best place to experience ancient Korea.

Jeonju Hanok Village is located in the city of Jeonju and overlaps Pungnam-dong and Gyo-dong. There are over 800 traditional Korean 'hanok' houses.

Korean wedding

Whilst wandering around we came across a Korean wedding ceremony, which we managed to (gate crash) soak up the atmosphere for a short period of time.
Bibimbap cooking class

Afterwards we attended a Korean bibimbap cooking class, the best bibimbap is meant to be made and originate from Jeonju.
Bibimbap cooking class

We cooked and prepared our Bibimbap dishes in the back garden of the teachers home. She told us that historically the villagers would prepare large dishes of Bibimbap in this manner and then share amongst themselves, and sit down to eat together. 
Our lovely Bibimbap class instructor.
Bibimbap cooking class
Sitting down to eating Bibimbap in a traditional Korean family home
Mixing and sharing our Bibimbap in a traditional Korean family home

I also managed to successfully cross the following off my ROK bucket list:~

~ Enjoy a westernised Korean wedding ~
~ Spend a platonic night in a Love motel ~
~ Take part in a traditional Korean tea ceremony ~
~ Have a normal dinner in a Koreans home ~
~ Learn to cook a traditional Korean meal ~
~ Check out some Cherry blossoms ~

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