FIRST TIMERS ON THE KTX
After our late night in Daegu we woke up around 8 AM and took the subway to the Dongdaegu KTX station to take the high speed KTX train in to Daejeon. The train ride there was only about 50 minutes long. And thank goodness- I’m not sure if it was because we were riding backwards on the train or just the train itself, but I had a pretty bad case of motion sickness by the time we arrived in Daejeon. The reason we visited Daejeon was in order for one of the mother’s old friends from high school to meet me and make sure I was ok. So when Josh and I were taking the escalator up from the train tracks to the station we were pleasantly surprised to see Hayoung Eemo (my mom’s friend, I call her Aunt because I have manners) and her daughter Yoona waiting for us with a “WELCOME WHITNEY & JOSH” sign. It was very sweet of them and just another example of the crazy hospitality and friendliness we have encountered here in Korea.
THE LEE’S…..BRAZILIAN FOOD IN KOREA = YUMMY IN MY TUMMY
After meeting our host family for the weekend they immediately took us to The Lee’s which is a Brazilian restaurant right next to a small lake. The restaurant was beautiful and the food was plentiful. Josh and I ended up eating with Yoona on the lower patio (her parents were also attending some kind of work conference on the upper patio) and the food was just great. If you’ve never had Brazilian food (I have only ever eaten at one in the States) they bring you meat on swords…it’s pretty impressive. The amount and variety was pretty crazy, every couple of minutes you are given a new piece of meat that they cut off of the sword and put on your plate (there were a couple types of beef, chicken, sausage, pork, pineapple and potatoes). On top of this there was a nice buffet of food inside which consisted of American food, Korean food and Brazilian food. Because of this variety I filled my plate with the most random items such as potato wedges, sushi, Korean peppers and some rice that reminded me of paella. After an overindulgence in delicious food we wandered around near the lake and tried to keep from melting away in the heat.
I think all of us were feeling the heat and a little too full after lunch so we went back to their apartment and I lost consciousness for 30 minutes. Eemo and eemobu’s (Aunt and Uncle) apartment was really cool and my first experience in a high rise apartment! I believe we were on the 18th floor and it was crazy how little you actually notice being that high up. I was a little afraid of looking out the windows initially but I soon adjusted and enjoyed the views. From my brief experience of Korean apartments I have noticed that they have many windows and patios with large sliding doors to help out with ventilation. Back in the States my experiences with apartments have usually been smaller apartments but our own apartment is a decent size and eemo and eemobu’s apartment had at least 5 bedrooms and a huge living room and kitchen. I never thought an apartment could be so roomy. I guess the setup of their particular apartment was that there were only 2 apartments per floor.
After a refreshing nap eemo and eemobu next took us to the beautiful Gapsa temple in Gyeryongsan National Park. We arrived at the base of the mountain around 4:30 and the lighting and temperature were just perfect for the brief walk to the main portion of the temple. For my first visit to a Buddhist temple I was quite blown away, the sculptures, painting style and colors were all beautiful. I even drank some water from a hose that was supposedly mountain water (and good for your health of course) and left the hose on so a monk motioned for me to turn it off…my first ever communication with a monk…very cool. This temple offered for tourists to stay with the monks and experience some of their life style…Josh and I would definitely be interested in doing this one day, preferably when the temperature is much cooler since the monks live without the air con (what Koreans call air conditioning/AC). The temple was beautifully situated in a forest which was so lush and green because of the Spring time….I would love to visit it again in the Fall when EVERYTHING turns orange…supposedly that is when it is most beautiful.
TIME FOR MORE ITALIAN FOOD!
After the temple all of us went to a very nice Italian restaurant that had a stone fire oven! Needless to say the pizza was amazing! We also had a divine ceasar salad and an OK lasagna (not enough salt!)
CONCLUSION….DAY 1 in DAEJEON WAS A GREAT SUCCESS!!