1N2Days Daejeon & Dangjin – South Korea   
Cheers to one of the most beautiful trips in recent times. Being an explorer with Korea Tourism Organization was fun and exciting. After 3 check-ups, finally 25 spirited individuals were selected by Culture Us, an organization that introduces and acquaints foreigners with Korean Culture.

 

On an early morning of 18th November 2017, twenty five people representing different countries around the world gathered at 6:45 am at Yangjae Bus Station. There is no better reason to wake up early in zero degree temperature on a weekend other than to travel. Yes! We are passionate travelers to spread our wings across Korea. 

 

Our First stop was at a Hanulkang Atelier, a pottery workshop in Daejeon. After spending a couple of hours travelling in the bus with terrible neck cricks while also interacting with fellow passengers, I got down with half sleep in my eyes. It was so cold and foggy that I almost didn’t see the surroundings well and ran into the Atelier. It’s a beautiful art place, well decorated with gorgeous pottery all around.

 

 

 

This place awoke my senses with a jolt while looking at the artistic details shining in sunlight from within their wooden framed spaces. I loved the vibe of the hall we were gathered in and was super happy to be present at this charming workshop surrounded by mountains, within the realm of nature.

The couple running this atelier welcomed us with smiles. They seemed very confident and driven to see us. After all, they have been working on this art form since years and have inherited it from their forefathers. While on the other hand, most of us participants were not so confident but excited all the same to try our hands on pottery.

After demonstrations of initial process till we could cast the clay into a mold, we started experimenting on our clay models. It’s definitely not as easy as it looks. 😀 

After many trials and errors and of course with help from our artisans, we were able to create some creative objects. For me, it was a great learning experience. I hadn’t decided to make a tea cup. The clay took its form and actually turned out into a cup. 😉

I feel it’s like a game and you play without thinking about winning or losing. When I first started, I didn’t have any clue of the final product but then I started working on it by drawing some inspiration from my fellow explorers. I was awestruck by the final outcome of all artistic products.

Undoubtedly, pottery is an art form to enhance creativity and harmony in ourselves. By the end of the workshop, all of us were well acquainted amidst joy and laughter. Thanks to our artisans who helped bring out the best possible creative outputs within us.
Next, we moved to an adorable quaint restaurant on top of a hill. It looked so dreamy and picturesque, at the same time it was too scenic to be real. I loved the ambience and interiors of the restaurant.

This was my first ever experience to see such a huge spread of traditional Korean side dishes. Usually I see 5-6 side dishes in a regular Korean restaurant. Here, seeing more than 15 colorful and mouthwatering side dishes along with the main entrée was so overwhelming that I felt full just by looking at them. Here are some pictures. They tasted just as delicious as they looked.

Later, we visited the third largest lake in Korea. Daecheongo Lake is an artificial lake that stretches across Cheongju, Okcheon and Boeun. Its breathtaking views are the prime attraction of the lake.  We walked along the lake, wishing good bye to fall and greeting wild flowers all along the way.

 

Then, we walked to the most surprising segment of the day. Experiencing a self-portrait session. This was the most interesting photo studio I have ever seen replete with lovely décor and antique collectibles.

 

The staff was quite patient and equally passionate to help us with best possible pictures. A special part of this program was that we were able to take our own pictures with a small device. We had fun clicking our own pictures and some treasured memories of group photographs as well. Three cheers to the efficient staff of this photo studio who gave us simply the best experience ever.

Our next destination was to experience Natural Dyeing. This cool place is run by women who have been dyeing since years. It was interesting to learn how they use colors absolutely from nature sourced from plants, insects and trees.

I tried my hands at natural dyeing. I didn’t do it right but as they say dyeing never goes wrong. However we do it, a beautiful pattern is formed. 😀

A day full of lovely experiences ended with a good Dolsot Bibimbap (Traditional Korean stone pot Bibimbap ). We had a perfect dinner while pondering over the memories of the day, knowing more about each other as good friends.

I always marvel about how travel helps make cool friends and results in great interactions with different people. One of the best things I love and cherish in my travels is these friends and their ever joyful expressions. 😀 We got assigned rooms with partners. The hotel was comfortable and well equipped with TV, washing machine and a good kitchenette. 

Next day, we kick started our morning with a fusion of Korean and English breakfast buffet and then started towards Dangjin. This little town is very dear to me as I worked here for a few months but never had a chance to visit all its cool places. Our first stop was at “Solmoe Holy Ground.” A nice beginning to our morning with a church visit.

Solmoe is named after the beautiful pine trees and is recognized as the birth place of the first Korean priest “Saint  Kim dae-gun Andrea.”

Our final and significant event was making the traditional rice wine known as  Makgeolli. I had made Makgeolli before but brewing it at this historical brewery was very special.

This brewery has been making Makgeolli from three generations. It was interesting to know the history from the man himself who is now about 80 years old and who promoted Makgeolli to help and sustain this traditional drink back in the day.

We had lots of fun of course with everyone at the Makgeolli place tasting different varieties of the brews. I personally enjoyed Makgeolli cocktails a lot since it was my first time trying them.

 

Guess what! All of us explorers were super cheerful here. Who wouldn’t be happy drinking great wine? 😛 Many of us bought some Moccoli back to Seoul as we didn’t want to lose this opportunity of having wine from this famous brewery.

Finally, after all the drinking we went to have our lunch. Don’t envy us, because it took us some time to reach the restaurant. We were tired but very content and satisfied with the day. We ate seafood and Tofu for lunch with pleasure and returned back to Seoul by the evening. It was like a dream trip with the best combined experiences of yummy traditional food, picturesque landscapes in the company of lovely people.

It will be an incredible itinerary of art and culture for tourists to relish. My many thanks to Korea Tourism Organization for this opportunity to participate in exploring the many wonders of traditional Korea.

 

 

 

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