Thursday, June 14, 2012

Green Tea & Bamboo - Excursions to Boseong and Damyamg

This past week I managed to convince a few friends (who, in truth, did not need too much convincing) to join me in taking advantage or our Wednesday off (June 6th is the Korean Memorial Day or 현충일, held every year to commemorate those lost to military service) and join me in (finally) making it to Boseong's Green Tea Fields!

While there, we managed to explore the Tea Museum, experience a true Tea Ceremony and tromp through some green tea fields (a number of which I suspect were never meant to be tromped through as we accidentally went on a hike through private fields in search of a 'gazebo' remembered by one of our number from a previous trip) at the Green Tea Farm Theme Park. We capped our explorations off with some delicious Green Tea-fed Samgyupsal (three-layer-pork), 녹차(green tea)-flavoured Kimchi-chiggae (kimchi soup) and, for the (non-lactose intolerant) others, wonderfully yummy (yes, I snuck a taste) green tea soft-serve ice cream. All in all, it was a pretty fabulous day, made more so by the company and Koreans we encountered along the way. I will leave you to enjoy the photos below.

The section of the tea farms we likely should not have been traipsing through. It was definitely beautiful though!

More of the same.

The lovely publicly accessible tea fields.

A closer look. From what I can tell, the key difference are that these hedges have clear aisles between them. It makes wandering through them significantly easier - though somewhat less of an adventure ^_^.
As I wound up sticking around Gwangju this weekend (and spending far too much time and money reading books on my lovely Kobo ereader), I decided to continue my exploration of (relatively) local towns known for their green plant products and opted to enjoy my Sunday in Damyang. Located approximately a half-hour northeast by local bus from Gwangju, Damyang (담양) is best known as the northernmost area in Korea where Bamboo can be found to grow naturally. Due to this, Damyang holds a plethora of Bamboo-related sites and delicacies, included but not limited to: the wonderfully shady and pleasant Juknokwon Bamboo Park (죽녹원); Daetong bap (대통밥) or rice cooked in a hollowed out bamboo stalk an served with more side dishes than are imaginable - very delicious; the Damyang Hotsprings and Spa (it's a Jimjilbang (bath house) as well), conveniently located at the base of a hiking trail to a fortress and with a real actual outdoor pool (a thing very rare in here in Korea), which we sadly did not have time to explore but which I certainly intend to return to at a later date; Bamboo Hoddeok (호떡) or Korean pancake filled with melted sugar and nuts; Meta-sequoia Street, a lovely (though not really bamboo-related) 4km-long pedestrian road lined on either side by gorgeously tall and luxurious meta-sequoia trees and made famous as the location at which (what else but) the popular k-drama  "Winter Sonata" took place; and, finally, wonderfully delicious (I can say this as I stole a bite from a friend's) bamboo soft serve ice cream, you just cannot appreciate the amazing-ness of this flavour until you've tried it! Pictures of all can of course be seen below ^_^.

The purchase of the yummy-delicious bamboo ice cream. For only 2000won (a little under $2) as well!


More of the same.
Bamboo Hoddeok.

It wouldn't be Asia without rice!

The outside view of Meta-sequoia Street.

Walking along the path

The lovely tribute to 'Winter Sonata'. It was actually quite well done with lovely semi-painted photos along the walls.

My new favourite cooler. Take a close look at that spout!

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