18 July 2009

Trip to 수원 (Suwon, South Korea) on 18 July 2009

Source and photos: http://horizons.free.fr/seikatsu/eng/memories/2009-07-18_kr-suwon.htm

화홍문 (Hwahongmun) at 화성 (Hwaseong fortress)I walked through 수원 (Suwon, South Korea) on 18 July 2009 to see 화성 (Hwaseong fortress) in company of François, who had come for the week-end. Although clouds threatened to waste our visit, the conditions were pleasant, and the rain fell only on our way back to the subway station.

After eating tasty 냉면 (cold noodles) at the station, we walked through the city then strolled three hours along the fortress wall, starting at 팔달문 (Paldalmun i.e. South gate) and finishing at an outdoor market, with a tea break on the way. I was surprised by the views, which exposed Korean-looking buildings, churches, and tall and low modern buildings, including apartments decorated with harmonized scenes such as riders jumping from a building to another. The fortress is well-maintained, the explanations are clear, and the path is long but easy. This UNESCO world heritage site must be really exciting with a clear sky.

I enjoyed the refreshing atmosphere, and the tiring walk offered a perfect pretext for relaxing chats while drinking tea or chocolate.

11 July 2009

Trip to 청주 (Cheongju, South Korea) on 11 July 2009

Source and photos: http://horizons.free.fr/seikatsu/eng/memories/2009-07-11_kr-cheongju_unbo-house.htm

Mysterious corner at 운보의 집 (Unbo's house) I discovered 청주 (Cheongju, South Korea) on 11 July 2009 thanks to my local colleague 남규 (Namkyoo), who wished to show me the house of 김 기창 (KIM Ki-Chang) aka 운보 (Unbo), a Korean painter notably known for drawing 세종대왕 (Sejong the Great) on ₩10.000 banknotes. A grey sky accompanied heat and humidity, a usual mark of the rainy season in South Korea.

After eating my best sushis in the country so far, 남규 (Namkyoo) drove me, his wife and daughter to 운보의 집 (Unbo's house). I appreciated the garden, compact but not overloaded, designed with talent and well maintained. I contemplated landscapes weaving nature with man-made artefacts and lotuses floating over miniature ponds carved in rock statues. I was surprised by the presence of numerous bonsais, which I solely associated to Japan, before admiring the artist's paintings at the gallery, enjoying his simple but deep colorful style. A few minutes away, we stopped the car near a long wall painted with scenes of the four seasons then again to face impressive sculptures made of junk, including an easily-recognizable version of the manga robot マジンガーZ (Mazinger Z). Finally, we visited 청주 고인쇄박물관 (Cheongju early printing museum), which exhibited ancient artefacts and documents and exposed history using automata.

This day in good company was exciting and stimulating, and I only regret that my Korean language abilities were insufficient to chat with my colleague's young daughter.