Sunday, May 31, 2015

Seoul Interlude...

Seoul... the name of this wonderful and magical city has come make its home in my heart.  I was fortunate enough to stay overnight before and after my trip to Tokyo last week... Bless my hosts who were kind and helpful to provide a place to rest my head after a long day commuting to and from Seoul, Japan and Dongducheon.

During my time in South Korea and Japan, I have used a travel APP called Airbnb to find places to stay to fit my budget.  This APP has been a godsend for finding places to stay the world over.

I was fortunate to find a place to stay in Seoul for the Lotus Lantern Festival the weekend of May 16th and 17th within walking distance of the Lantern Parade near the Jogyesa Temple

 photo signature_zps115f75f1.png

A Tranquil hike on Soyosan Mountain

 Soyosan Mountain Retreat... surrounded by the beauty of nature

One of my goals while in South Korea is to become fit and healthy by walking everywhere on my two legs... Of course since the broken toe incident, it has been challening.. however a need for a beautiful hiking trail lead to Soyosan Mountain.  It is amazing as the first week in Korea, my brother John actually gave me a drive by yet I didn't catch on that it was Soyosan Mountain.  

Anyways... some information should you be curious regarding its history.   

Soyosan is a mountain in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.  Its area extends across the cities of Pocheon and Dongducheon.  It has an elevation of 1,926 feet.  The mountain is home to two Buddhist shrines commemorating Silla priest Wonhyo and Uisang, and a small temple called Jaja Hermitage.  The mountain is famous for its small waterfalls and spring wells and is a popular hiking route.   

Map of Soyosan Mountain with its four trails of varying distances.  
On this day Course #1 was the plan... 

The goal of the day is to walk, hike and climb the trail and soak in the bounty of nature's beauty.  I was hoping for cherry blossoms by came too late.  Should have visited 2-3 weeks prior then would've been surrounded by the eye candy that is a sakura tree.  
For now enjoy the views of what unfolded on the hike this day.  

Buddhist Cave next to one of the waterfalls that's barely falling...
The monsoon season should be hitting us soon but for now it's the dry season so many of the areas waterfalls such as Wonhyo Falls, Uisang Falls, Cheongnyang Falls and Seonnyeotang Falls are not springing music showers our way.  Hopefully next trip up where I make it to the top. Fingers crossed.

You will see many stones towers in honor of Buddhist.

The lush green forest on Soyosan Mountain. 

Honoring Buddhist monk Wonhyo from the Silla Kingdom.  It was here he found his spiritual awakening.
Jajae Hermitage, a small temple where Wonhyo practiced asceticism.  
Nahanjeon, a small cave with a small temple inside where a resident rat came for some supper at the altar.   It was a sweet sight. A very tasty spring water wells in the cave and is called Wonhyo spring.

Nahanjeon Cave
Nearly to the top, had to turn around as the legs were starting to tremble.  It was also past 7 pm so time to return.

Till next time Soyosan!  Hopefully the waterfalls will dance.  
 photo signature_zps115f75f1.png

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Art Making on the move

Sketching in Korea has become a daily habit!  

I sketched while passing the time recovering from a first broken toe, commuting via metro train to Seoul and back and sketching on location while poor battery dies.  

Painting and pen and ink has been the tools used in the creation. Enjoy. 

 And some weaving with wire!! 

And Needle Felting...

That's all for tonight.  Will share more with the sketches done on location around Seoul soon.   

Dongdaemun Market


first trip with family & friends to check out the market and all the city of Seoul has to offer
For me its the hunt for all things fabric & wool rovings
Family & friends... Easter offerings for the kids as it was Easter the next morning

This first time at the market was chaos and busy... every one of us had a different agenda and we all managed to take turns going where we wanted to go.  Along the way, some selfies and street foods made our day more FUN...

  Treasure No. 1:  Heunginjimun

East gate of the capital city of Seoul and was built in 1398 (7th year of King Taejo's reign) The current Heunginjimun was rebuilt in 1869 (6th year of King Gojong's reign)

 The Niece and I with friend of family...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

South Korea~ first weeks recap

Arrival in South Korea was a joy seeing family members I haven't seen in two years... Brother John and his family who have been working as teachers with DODDEA for the past four years!

First faces upon passing their customs were that of John and Ellen, my sister in law.  It was marvellous seeing them again yet so fast paced as john "jogged" us to the car!  Lol. Crazy but nothing new...

I can't believe its been almost two months since arriving in Korea, yet this is the second post.  So much has happened...  family had spring break the first week so a few day trips to a resort style place north of Dongducheon, South Korea where amusements for the entire family is available from sample korean foods, arts, pottery stall selling ceramics and plants.

stroll down and enjoy the sights that were taken in the 2nd weekend in Korea.  Such a lovely trip. 

So enjoyed the sight of these ceramic vessels such as the traditional "kimchi dok" is the largest of earthenware pottery urns and is used to prepare the whole range of fermented vegetables needed to get a family through the winter. I admit to a fascination with these pots and its purposes. 

 The decorative art painted onto the pottery is simple and pretty.  
Most decorative elements are of botany, people, animals with some graphic icons. 

The plants for sale were colorful and unique... here is one that has me stumped... Name anyone? 

 Yes this here one below... what is this white plant's name?  

After a few purchases of pottery for myself and friends back home, it was time to explore the offerings at this countryside resort town... like this boat ride... sea sick much??  I can't ever go on one of these... else you'll find yourself a canvas of

 watching the nieces and nephew enjoying the amusement ride...
To the left of the ride... was the most AESOME and can you say... ADORABLE ride ever.!

Then LIFE SIZED Sculptures started appearing in front of me EYES.... 
Seriously... I was in HEAVEN

Choi Pyung Gon
Korea 2005