Photoessay: Butterfly Festival in Hampyeong

In southern Korea, in a small village named Hampyeong, there’s an annual butterfly festival. The festival is this town’s “thing”, so throughout the streets you see butterflies everywhere. The lamp posts, the sidewalk, the fences, an entire bridge… you name it, it’s butterfly themed. All year long, it seems as though the residents of Hampyeong look forward to their annual claim to fame.

The festival has really interesting fauna exhibits, including goldfish, wood beetles, larvae, and an entire building full of cacti. After walking through the cool plants, you can also see lots of interesting displays, like elder women who are hand weaving a straw mat. And the shopping: everything from green tea powder to baby wood larvae to take home and raise.

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Photoessay: Daecheon Weekend Getaway

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I’ve never seen so many strange kinds of fish before. Wonderful.

Friday, May 17th, was Buddha’s birthday, a national holiday in Korea. I had plans to go to Busan for the long weekend (along with most of Korea) but around 3pm on Thursday, a horrible sore throat decided to rear its head and discourage me from travel. Remembering that time I fainted on the Buenos Aires subway and the other times I nearly fainted on a Korean bus, because I’d been sick and refused to let it keep me down, I decided to make it a quiet(er) weekend and cancelled my ticket with a heavy heart.

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Gyeongju

Gyeungju. so pretty. so historically rich. so ancient.

more photographs from a city who’s greatest days are indisputably behind it. if there’s any place that makes me wish I could go back in time, this is it.

except that they probably wouldn’t have those cookies

Hills of Gyeongju

these perfectly round hills are by no means natural and they’re not just hills, but ancient graves of Korean royalty from previous dynasties. these particular graves are found in Gyeungju, which historically was a huge mega city and one of the biggest in the region in previous eras. they’re kind of like the Egyptian Pyramids… the bigger the grave, the more important the buried person was. Continue reading Hills of Gyeongju

Rail Car Makeover

have you ever done a bicycle rail car? this stretch of railway off of route 7 on the Eastern coast lets you do just that. the scenery is beautiful. it was such an interesting experience. you even go through a tunnel portion which is slightly useless, but the trippy lights and strange interior decorating make it entertaining at least. can’t change the railway, right?

it begins at Samcheok and the ride is some 5 kilometers. don’t worry, it requires little to no actual physical exertion.

highly recommended: the Korea tourism info page about it

Pyeongtaek Meandering

wandering in Pyeongtaek, I had a few hours to kill. I stumbled upon a small temple area in the city with just a few buildings and this monument. it was quite peaceful and when walked out of the area, I found a gorgeous neighborhood with narrow streets and historic architecture. it felt more European than Asian and lasted a few blocks before, suddenly, I found myself back in the hustle and bustle of Pyeongtaek. ugly signs and misspelled English words… the typical Korean city scene.

kind of like stepping out of the closet into a boring bedroom and leaving Narnia behind. except I could have turned around and gone right back, so maybe it’s nothing like that… oh well. a beautiful change of pace.

Horses

during my Chuseok road trip, the first stop was a resort. low and behold, they had a field full of horses and sheep. I love horses. I kind of think sheep are cute from a distance. the horses were tamed and used to being touched by random tourists all day, which made them perfect for a little photo shoot, up close and personal.

so here you go: Korean horses… exactly the same as other horses. just way cooler because they’re in Korea.

Sports Day

today we had a mini-olympics for the kids. enjoy the photos!

no… I did not participate.

and yes, in that last photo… he is crossing the finish line gangnam style.
(what, gangnam style? watch this video.)