Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A great weekend in Andong!

Andong is one of those places that you never seem to hear about but once there you are amazed that no-one had mentioned it sooner!

We took a trip down to Andong for the International Mask Dance Festival which was great! It was full of people and there were many strange smells and delicious things to eat!

But I am getting ahead of myself, let me start from the beginning.

Oliver and I took our first ever train in Korea and it ROCKED. It was a similar price (for first class) to the buses and it got to Andong about an hour faster so a bargain if you ask me!

Another bonus was that we were the only two people in the first class compartment which made it that much sweeter. We got to see Korea's beautiful landscape in whole new light while the sun's rays warmed us on the chilly Autumn morning. Aaaaaah, it was a perfect start to an awesome weekend!

Once settled in Andong we hit the streets to get  a feel for the place and we both fell in love with the market which was quite big but was (for the most part) covered by awnings...And we also found freshly baked muffins....Mmmmmm!

Once we found the festival we were immersed in it! We bought some souvenirs, looked at some photographic artwork (which has inspired us to try and do an exhibition of Oliver's work...I think his work is totally worth it, don't you?), we also watched the mask dance and just strolled around in relative bliss.

We decided to take a late bus to a Hanoe Village which is a village where the old-school style of housing has been preserved and people still live and farm there! It was sooooooooooooooo amazing!

We got to the village quite late on Saturday because the bus ran into some traffic but we did get there just in time to catch the traditional fire works display! Man was it cool....They had three traditional types of fireworks which were displayed....the first looked similar to fairy-lights as they had pockets of coal attached to a wire that extended from the river bed to a rock face, the second were egg shaped lanterns that floated down the river and the big finale was massive fire balls that were drop from the edge of the cliff face into the water. It was quite a spectacle!(My camera was not strong enough to capture the awesomeness of the fireworks, will have to wait for Ollie's pics)

We then had to rush back to get the last bus going down town! We got on the bus, two seats in the back left corner. We were both relieved that we had seats but a bit unnerved by the fact that we really really needed to wee!

To our amazement the bus driver kept piling people into the bus. There were as many people standing as there were sitting. It was tight and I still really REALLY needed to go to the loo. The bus driver then sat there for a excruciating 15 minutes trying to squeeze more people on the bus. By this time I was honestly afraid that I might wet myself and we hadn't even left yet. YIKES. All in all I made the half an hour ride without making a mess but my word that is closest to torture I think I have ever come! Cringe!

Anyway, off my bladder and back to Andong! Hanoe village was so spectacular that we just had to go back there the following day (even though there were a series of other places we wanted to see, like the Soju museum). We spent the whole of Sunday just walking through the old village taking in how peaceful it was. We saw more birds and insects there on Sunday than I have seen in the rest of Korea so far.

So Oliver and I have made a pact to return to Andong so that we can buy some more of those fabulous muffins, go to the Soju museum, and possibly visit Hanoe Village again!!!
Post by Claudia


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