Sometimes, the best place to take photos are right where you live. In my case, that would be the rooftop of my building.
At this moment, Lotus flowers are now blooming all over Korea, and while the Korean Tourism Organization only mentions a few places where there are lotus flowers, and not to mention most of the areas they recommend are at least 2 hours away from Taean. Hence, I decided to search locally and discovered the Taean Lotus Festival. The Taean Lotus Festival takes place every year in Cheongsan Arboretum (청산수목원), just 15 minutes south from downtown Taean in early July. My friend David and I took the 10:10 bus which goes to Nammyeon and got off at Shinjang-ri (신장리). After getting off, it is around a 10 minute walk before you arrive at Cheongsan Arboretum. We were lucky since there weren't a lot of people when we arrived. There are 24 species of Lotus flowers at the arboretum and the view is quite spectacular. If you happen to be in Taean during the summer, please do visit the place.
I've always passed Noryangjin fish market on the way to the airport and I've always wanted to go there but never had the chance. Since my friend who came Hong Kong was in Seoul and wanted to get seafood, I decided that we should head down to Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. Meeting up at City Hall station, we took line 1 down to Noryangjin station. We didn't realize how big the fish market was until we arrived. It seems as though we were in seafood paradise with what seems to be endless stalls selling all different kinds of seafood you can imagine. Being a bit overwhelmed, we walked around the market and after discussing on what to eat, we went to one stall and bought a spider crab, five prawns, four sea urchins and a live octopus. Then we went to a nearby restaurant which asked us on how we would like our seafood prepared and patiently waited for the food to arrive. I cannot stress how good it was. If you happen to be in Seoul and are craving seafood, Noryangjin fish market is the place to go, but be warned you might end up buying a lot of seafood than you can eat!
During the beginning of this week, I've been planning on tackling one of the last two courses of Haebyeongil. It is course number 5, which stretches from Mongsanpo to Baeksajang. According to my weather app. it appeared that Saturday was going to be a clear day with a scattered clouds which was perfect for trekking. Taking the 0650 bus heading to Namyeon, Dylan, Kevin and I headed off. After around a 20 minute bus ride, we arrived at our starting point; Mongsanpo Beach. The trail starts off along the boardwalk and then heads into the woodlands. From there on, we also passed through rice paddies, a weland and a salt farm. Unlike the other sections of Haebyeongil, this section was relatively level which made it easier on our feet. After 4 hours of walking, we arrived at the strait which separated the peninsula of Taean from the island of Anmyeondo.
Waiting at the airport can be boring at time after the tenth time you walked around the departure area. Since I had around 4 hours to kill at Incheon Airport, I thought to myself, "what the heck, I'll just take photos of random stuff and see what I can do with it." I did end up with some interesting photos. It's a mash up of both colour and black and white photos, but then again, I did enjoy myself in the process.
Just FYI, all the photos were taken with the Nikon 50mm f/1.2
The first time I learned about urban renewal was when I was taking an urban studies course when back in university. It involves the relocation of the local population and businesses. It also involves demolishing the original buildings and replacing them high density structures. Many neighbourhoods in Seoul have already gone through this process and you can tell by the concrete residential towers which are a common sight in the city's skyline. There are a few original neighbourhoods that are currently going through urban renewal and today I had the chance to visit one of them. This particular neighbourhood is mostly empty with a few remaining residents who refuse to move. The area is slated to be demolished and replaced with the same residential towers which surround the area. It was weird walking through a place where the previous residential buildings are just now hallow shells waiting to be torn down. It looked like something out of an apocalyptic scene and it set a stark contrast with the new apartment towers which were sitting across the street. The neighbourhood itself is quite big and due to the lack of time, I could only explore a portion of it and had to leave. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit the place before the whole place gets torn down.
While I was on the bus on to the starting point of my trek along the coastline, an abandoned site caught my eye. Once I got off the bus, I headed towards the site and I realized it was an abandoned school. From what I could find, the school was constructed in the early 70s and later turned into a folk art museum before closing down. Although the field is overgrown with vegetation, there was a garden in the back so I'm assuming the locals come here from time to time. Unfortunately the windows and the doors were locked so I couldn't go check inside. The interior shots were taken through the windows.
The cold weather is finally behind us and all my surroundings at home and work are finally lush green with beautiful flowers sprouting everywhere. Although it is technically still Spring, I am excited of what's to come in the summer. The just are a few snapshots I took over the past few days. I can't wait to go stargazing on the beach at night once the dust from China eventually stops making the sky hazy.
Since Kevin and I are early risers, we decided to wake up real early (I woke up at 4am) and start our hike at 5am towards the foot of Baekhwasan in town. I estimated that by the time we arrived at the peak we would be able to see the sunrise. Well things didn't go as planned. Once we reached the top, the skies were cloudy but it created a really nice calming atmosphere since it gave the surrounding landscape a shade of blue. Setting up my camera and my tripod, I started shooting away. Here are the results from early this morning.
The weather this week hasn't been the best and fearing that the rain might destroy the last of the remaining cherry blossoms, David, Dylan and I decided to visit one four major temples in Chungcheongnam-do, Gaesimsa (개심사) located in Haemi Eup, Seosan City. The original site was founded in the Baekjae Dynasty but was destroyed in a forest fire in 1475 and rebuilt in 1478, which are the buildings that currently standing today. We took the 522 bus which left Seosan Bus Terminal at 09:15 and it dropped us off at the foot of the temple around 35 minutes later. Lanterns were up along the trail as well as around the temple in preparation of Buddha's birthday. There was a prayer session going on at the temple, hence the lack of photos of the buildings. Seeing that there were more and more people coming to the temple to see the cherry blossoms, we decided that we did enough exploring around the area and started to head down to the main road. Along the way there were was a lane lined up with cherry blossoms trees in full bloom. Since most of the tourists headed directly to the temple, it was a wonderful opportunity to take photos knowing that a random ajuma won't walk through your photo. Once we were finished, we continued our way along the trail which followed an agricultural reservoir. Although it was a bit foggy, the light was soft and the scenes around us looked like as if they were paintings. We're defiantly coming back to visit the temple and the trail later on once the area is green again. If you happen to be in Seosan during the weekend, this place is one of the city's best kept secrets that you should explore.
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