Monday, October 17, 2016

Traditional Village in Andong

Day 20.  Sept. 30

Compared to our hotel room, the breakfast room, on the 15th floor, was pretty good, but crowded with many tourists: mostly Chinese and SE Asian. We left Sokcho and started our long journey to Andong and its Hahoe village, stopping a few minutes for gas at a roadside shop that featured many varieties of dried fish.

 It started to rain and which slowed us down during this long 4-5 hour drive. We went for lunch to a local restaurant and had another version of the good food we have been having in restaurants who serve one or two dishes in the local style with no westerners eating there.

After lunch we went on a hike to the summit of a cliff called Buyongdae overlooking the Hahoe village.  This ancient village was contained by a meandering river which almost made it into an island.  The hike up was nice, and then it gave a good overview of this village, with its bright yellow-green rice fields ready for harvest.

The village has been continuously inhabited by a single clan and has been the home of many prominent politicians and scholars. We could see two types of houses; those with thatched and those with tiled roofs.  The lower classes lived in those with thatched roofs and the bigger homes with tiles were those of the elite upper classes.  But throughout they were side-by-side, with narrow alleyways bordered on either side by low walls and scattered persimmon trees and other old gnarled trees that made the entire scene very picturesque.  People still live here so we could enter into only a few courtyards, but nevertheless it was beautiful and startling to see how well preserved this 500 year old village is.  We had a guided tour by a very articulate professional guide who gave us the essential information about this village and its amazing situation facing the river and surrounded by mountains.  Good feng shui apparently!  

We had a nice walk along the river and then got back into the van and departed for Gyeongju in the rain.  It was a difficult drive in the rain and with road construction but finally arrived quite late at the hotel which was in the tourist section by the lake. The hotel room was clean and functional.  We decided to eat in the hotel as it was raining and we were tired; it was OK but not great.

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