14 일째 – Gumi 구미 – Eating puffer fish and strolling around Gumosan’s lake

After class on Wednesday, I finally ventured out of Daegu to the nearby city of Gumi. Gumi is an industrial town located 30 minutes by train from Daegu and almost an hour from Gyeongsan.  It is famous for its industrial exports with many major companies setting factories here and accounts for most of the exports in Korea.

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I am in Gumi to visit my friend, who happens to be in the city during this time.

From Daegu, you can take the bus or train but I took the train from Daegu instead.  I can technically take the train from Gyeongsan and that would have saved me an hour but I hadn’t figured out where the train station was (still don’t).

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There are two types of trains that leave for Gumi from Daegu: ITX-Saemaeu and Mugunghwa.  The latter has more stops but due to proximity, the difference between these two trains is just 5 minutes.  However, the ITX-Saemaeu costs 1800 won more than Mugunghwa (going to Gumi).

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Inside Daegu Station

The seats are all assigned when you buy the ticket and the timing is quite precise, I got there a minute late but that was ok.

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Waiting for the train at Daegu

My friend waited for me at the station and we went out for dinner.  We ate a special delicacy called bok-eo (복어), which is the poisonous puffer fish in soup.  Naturally, the poisonous part has already been removed; in fact, I even read that some puffer fish are genetically modified so it doesn’t have the poisonous glands anymore.

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The place is quite popular with older people and everyone eats on the nicely heated floor (since it’s winter).  It is about 26 000 won for two people.  The name of the store is 싱글벙글복어 and it is a chained franchise, this one is located quite close to the train station.  The waitresses are all ahjummas and they like things 빨리빨리 (quickly quickly), so don’t expect great service.

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The fish was really meaty but you have to be aware of the bones.  We took the meat out of the pot, probably so that it won’t get overcooked in the pot.  Our meal is ready!

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Just in case, you don’t know what a puffer fish looks like – there are some decorations on the wall.

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Gumi is famous for Gumosan, which one is a mountain and blogger had said it was the best hike in Korea.  The route is very rocky but city view at the end is well worth it.  There are also waterfalls and other gorgeous sceneries along the way.  Unfortunately, coming into Gumi at 7 PM meant I am unable to visit Gumosan but I was able to visit the lake at the bottom of the mountain called 금오산올레길.

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We just walked around the lake which took about 40 minutes or so.  My friend told me that during the summer, there would be many people but since it is winter, most people elected to stay home.  Nevertheless, there were still some elderly people taking strolls here despite the cold.

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It is also a popular dating spot in Gumi.

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There were some interesting sites along the way … and even a statue of an educator who came from Gumi.  Speaking of famous people, Gumi is where the former President Park Chung Hee was born and it wasn’t by accident that this city of Gumi grew to be the city it has become.  I think the policy is called Saemuel Undong, where they tried to industrialize small towns in order to catch up to those of the cities.  I was also told that students living in Gumi can have the benefit of going to a tech school and working for a large company.

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Finally, there was a gorgeously lit pavilion at the end of the lake…

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Across from the lake are restaurants selling mainly Pajeon (Korean pancake) and Makgeolli ( Korean rice wine).  As mentioned in the Apsan post, Koreans love to eat Pajeon and drink Makgeolli after hiking.  It is a Korean tradition, which I think is like saying “job well done” but I am going to confirm this.  Confirmed, my Korea teacher said, “just because”.

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My friend also drove up a lookout point to see (part) of Gumi.

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Finally, we finish our day at a cafe near the base of Gumosan.  It was is called May cafe (I think) and it opened recently.  There is the first level, which sells delicious bakeries, a cozy basement and a top floor with a Christmas tree and piano.

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On the way back, I made sure to arrive back in Daegu without missing the last train bound for Yeungnam at 11:33 PM.  It was the slower train and it stopped at two more station than the ITX Saemuel but it was only 5 minutes longer.

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I was running for the metro station because I still had to transferred and another older person ran with me thinking he was late for the train … kekek.  Got back at midnight!

That concludes an exciting Wednesday 🙂

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