After the midterms, I have stopped studying.
This Saturday, I woke up early and went to the North Daegu Terminal to take the bus to Chungju 충주 to visit my friend! Chungju is located two hours from Daegu and one hour away from Seoul. It is a small city but still the second biggest in the North Chungcheong Province (the first being Cheongju, yes, the name is so similar …. I got nervous when I went to buy the tickets LOL).
I got there early so I had a Lotteria.
I was on my way to Chungju! The air was terrible that day in Daegu, and people blame the air in China but there are factories here too it seems.
Anyways, I am on our way! Gone are the concrete block buildings and in its place are the nice one unit housings… it feels like a rural area now 🙂
It took about 2 hours and a little bit more and I was at Chungju! Welcome to Chungju!
My friend picked me up at the bus terminal and we were on our way to lunch!!
Lunch was a set and it was a delicious meaty meal with vegetable wraps. The meat is on a clay plate, like teppanyaki (in Korean it is called 철판). I love how they give us so many side dishes. I ate for about an hour and a half … you know, my usual speed. Must take advantage of all you can eat leafies and side dishes.
After lunch, my friend took me to the Martial Arts museum. Apparently, aside from Taekwondo, Korea also has a martial arts called Taekkyeon 택견. I was told that Taekwondo aims straight on while Taekkyeon uses dynamic footwork that involves the entire body. It is like a dance movement and when your opponent is distracted, you hit. Chungju is where the headquarters of this traditional martial arts is located and all the students living in Chungju had to learn this in school.
There is a video as well as some Taekkyeon moves on display 😛 That is my friend, she is from Chungju and was doing some moves … since she learned this in school 😛
The museum is one of two museums in Chungju. The other being the Chungju local museum but my friend said there isn’t much to see there.
In addition to introducing visitors to Taekkyon, there are also other interesting items on displays such as the martial arts of the world as well as their uniform and the weapons they use.
The highest floor is an observatory. It isn’t very high but you can see some of Chungju from here. The admission fee here is free!! This was the first time my friend has ever come to this museum 🙂
It was a warm weekend, almost 10 degrees!! There is an outdoor ice skating rink but it looks like it is melting quickly.
Next to the museum is a park, conveniently called the Chungju Martial Park. Although it is the middle of winter and there weren’t any flowers, it was still a very attractive park. It was the weekend, so there were lots of young family with children running around the park. People can rent bikes and there were also many playgrounds.
There is also a bike lane that goes from Chunju all the way to Seoul. I think my friend said it was Hangang. In any case, it is about 131 KM.
The river next to the bike lane. The weather is not always the best in Chungju according to my friend; therefore, we lucked out because the weather was great and the air was fairly clean.
The sign that says you have 131 KM to go before reaching Seoul 🙂 Fighting .. 🙂
After the nice walk around the park, we went to another Park! My friend said there are two large parks in Chungju, which constitute as the two main attractions in this small city. The other park we went to is Jungangtap Park 중앙탑공원 , which has many art sculptures and the famous Jungangtap!
The Jungangtap is a 7 story high pagoda that was once located in the center of the Silla dynasty (Hence the name – middle pagoda). When it was built (around the 7th century), it was the tallest pagoda in the dynasty. Currently, the pagoda is the 6th National Treasure in Korea.
The park also has an old traditional peasants house that is currently museum (although it isn’t opened) as well as a very nice newly built hanok selling tea!
THere was also music coming out of the house! It turns out it was an older man singing trot. He was a busker but there were no spectators! The weather was just a little col.
We went to the traditional hanok to have tea. Luckily for us, there was also a calligrapher doing free calligraphy for the cafe’s clients!
The tea was about 6000 won each but it smelled good and we can refill it as much as we want (the water that is).
After the tea, we walked around the park and are some more.
Later, we walked across the park to a cold noodles restaurant !!!! I have been so lucky to taste so many good Korean food in the 1.5 months that I have been in Korea … keke.
The interesting thing about this restaurant is that most visitors eat the cold noodles with fried chicken! It is an odd combo but perhaps it is because there is no meat inside the noodles and Koreans love protein.
We went back my friend’s place, which is on the outskirts of town. It was really the countryside but it was SO PRETTY!
We bought all types of chips for midnight snack. Her mom also gave me delicious fruits and even blueberry milkshake!!! FYI: Chungju is known for apples! It was big and tasty….
First day in Chungju =)