Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring Break 2014 Mungyeong saejae

 Spring break came and we were excited to take advantage of the long weekend and head south on a road trip.  Boy these kids don't know how good they have it.  Well, maybe it is not a matter of being better but definitely different.  I have fond memories of driving 12 + hours in the back of my father's Suburban.  Back then we had little care for car-seats for the kids.  As a matter of fact we removed all of the seats, spread out blankets.  We put a big cooler full of snacks behind the front seats and then passed the time playing games or doing activity books that my sister prepared for us.  Now all the kids are strapped in, and have their own headsets to hear the movie playing on two screens behind the front seats.
 As for me, I sit back, listen to my tunes and take in the beauty of Korea as the trees are blossoming and the distant mountains appear out of the mist.  It never gets old.
 When we travel south, we like to take route 45 which is east of route 1.
 This time we stopped someplace new at the recommendation of our friends.  Mungyong saejae was the natural gateway from the northern corridor of the peninsula to the Gyeongsang provinces.  The mountains form a natural barrier which funnel traffic to a narrow pass.  This was possibly the summit pass that inspired the most famous Korean folk song, Arirang.
 Remnants of the original road still exist and much of the surrounding mountain range were made a national park in the 1980s.
 In more recent times several historical soap operas have been filmed here in expansive sets that reflect period architecture.  The sets take advantage of the picturesque natural setting and make for a great idealized glimpse of classic Korea.
 For a couple thousand Won, we rode a cart to the top of the hill.  The kids loved sitting in the caboose.
 As we approached the main set, the view was beautiful.  Especially as the cherry blossoms were in full bloom.
 Even the critters were cool.
 Addy loved the flowers on the bridge.

 Sadie was cracking us up as she ran in and out of the great gate.

 Sadie and Mommy enjoy a moment together.
 I love the bright colors of traditional Korean architecture.  Since this is a set, from afar it looks amazing but up close, most of the painting is revealed to be wallpaper and stickers.

 Love Sadie's smirky face!

 Logan did some climbing.
 Logan's lordly pose...
 One mainstay of Korean parks are foot paths designed to stimulate stretch and massage your feet.  Most the time you see Korean senior citizens braving the paths in the name of health.  I wonder how many end up twisting ankles and knees.
 Sadie had a blast on the ninja course.
 Who knew?
 Mungyeong magistrates for hundreds of years are memorialized on tablets bordering the main path.  This one stands out because it is cast Iron.  We have seen similar tablets in Chinju.
 A brisk wind kept the banners on the turrets billowing.
 Sadie found a bug.
 I love the colors on border between spring and summer.  Pure white mingled with ruddy brown and new green.

 Addy and Logan pretending to be on a dangerous expedition.
 Logan found a great hiking stick.

 Mungyeong is known for apples.  We are going to have to make it back out there in the fall during apple season.

 Out side of the men's room, Logan was swarmed by some female tourists who upon leaving offered marriage proposals.  My kids are rock stars whenever we get out of Seoul.
 Near the exit to the main set there is a monument dedicated to the traditional Korean seonbi or virtuous scholar.  Seonbi are those who prepared for and in some cases even passed the Confucian civil service examination but then chose not to enter government service for moral reasons.  Historically, they were associated with revolutionary thought and often purged as they were seen as a threat to the institution.  As far as I can tell this was not for a specific scholar.

Back to the car and off to Kimcheon.

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