Sunday, September 26, 2010

Seoraksan National Park for Chuseok

The Onofrays with our friends, the Gordons, ventured out to Seoraksan National Park to celebrate Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving, but more of a day to honor your family with a visit home and to the cemerety than "pig out" on turkey as American Thanksgiving has become)

Seoraksan National Park is about 180km from Seoul so we ventured out on our first Korean road trip. Since the entire city of Seoul empties out for Chuseok, and everyone has returned to their home towns, the ride was pretty smooth.

Arriving pretty early in the day, we enjoyed a nice hike with Maddy.

There is a VERY large Buddha statue at the entrance to the park. We stayed at a hotel right in the park that overlooked that statue, so awoke each morning to a chanting Buddhist monk. You can see him in the picture on the right. He repeats his chanting several times throughout the day and you can buy candles and/or rice as an offering to the Buddhist Gods. Pretty cool actually.

After the first day with Maddy on the hike, we found out that we are not allowed to have dogs in the park or the hotel. Now, I am a pretty organized person and did check on this beforehand, as you would all expect, but I think the language barrier got in the way. So, Mike and I took turns doing some hiking...Here are some pictures from my hike...

This is a rock that defies all of the laws of physics.
It is lying on its side on the edge of a cliff and the legend
says that many people have tried to move it but it doesn't budge.

Some food from our trip...

First night with bibimbap and pachan.
Bulgogi stew of some kind with banchan (side dishes).

Mike manages to find some fried food
anywhere we go..this is a double-battered &
double fried hot dog.

Some sights from our trip that don't fit into any category...
Lots of statues like these in the markets...
take a closer look!

Since we were on the East Sea, seafood was very popular.
Some dried sting-ray for you?
Seoraksan Mountain is beautiful and definetly deserves a trip if you have the time in Korea. It is one of just 10 or so National Parks in Korea...a large amount for a country of such small land mass. We hope to go back in the fall sometime again to see the leaves changing colors.

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