|My time in Busan was short, only a day, but it will stay with me for a long time to come through the amazing friends I made! Despite the rain I truly fell in love with this seaside city.
I had what had to be the most friendly cab driver in South Korea despite our language barrier, he was constantly smiling despite the fact I had clearly arrived in the middle of rush hour and spent a good part of the over hour drive to my hotel trying so hard to talk to me and welcome me to Busan! My hotel was awesome, once again Best Western serves me well in Asia!
My friends met me fairly early and we started out with our umbrellas at the ready. They introduced me to Korean public transportation, I am now a bus expert! We had a decent distance to go to get to our first stop which turned out to be pretty much one of my favorite places of my whole trip! I saw many temples, shrines and palaces during my two months……but Haedong Youggung temple wins hands down!!! Even in the overcast rainy weather it took my breath away. The smells of incents, sounds of chanting prayers mixed with the sounds of the waves crashing against ocean the cliffs it sits atop, the bright colors of the temple artwork and paint that even the overcast weather could not dim….yes I was enchanted and I cannot wait to return to see it again in better weather! The temple is one of 3 sacred places relating to the Goddess Buddha of Korea. Its motto is “At least one of your wishes will be answered here through heartful prayers.”
My friends their declared that no trip to Korea was complete without makgeolli, and so the day drinking began! lol We went to a great little traditional Korean makegolli place! Makgolli is traditional Korean rice wine, and it is VERY good! We also had amazing pancakes made out of all different kinds of vegetables, I forget what they are called but they were perfect snack with our wine.
From here we walked, as the weather had cleared somewhat, through the streets of Busan. We happened upon a great historic site that my friends translated as an example of an ancient police station. Again I was charmed by the colors of the architecture!
We then proceeded to Chunguyeolsa, a shrine dedicated to a number of Koreans killed during the Japanese invasion from 1592-1599. This place honors the memory of those who were lost. The shrine was first built in 1605, then moved in 1652 to its current location where a lecture hall was added. In 1709, 1736, and 1772, more people were enshrined in honor of their heroics. It was so beautiful and peaceful here. I felt extremely reverent and did my best to be honorable to those that were honored here. There was an excellent small museum on the site as well with amazing artifacts! I was surprised when the manager of the museum gifted me with a small book about the site and its history.
As it was now late afternoon and I was told I had to see “the bridge” we headed for the bay and found a café to relax and talk in with a great view of Gwangan Bridge. Once it was dark enough to my surprise the bridge lite up with a very pretty light show!
Then came the very important hunt for food!!! Which I was informed would involve more drinking lol I can honestly say that it was one of the best meals I have ever had! We went to a little hole in the wall place with like 5 tables with grills in the middle and I had some of the best grilled pork belly in my life (I am drooling even thinking about it now!). We also had a spicy seafood soup that was so good I could not stop eating it. And plenty of Soju! I got my ass royally kicked at several drinking games, apparently my usually good poker face failed me lol but I did not care I had far too good a time and was extremely sad to say good night and good bye to everyone!
I have promised myself and my friends that I will be back!
You hear me Busan, I will be back!!!