A few months ago, I went to a temple near Daegu called Dong Hwa Sa (동화사) with some friends. The temple is located in a national park at Palgong Mountain (팔공산). I enjoyed visiting the temple so much that I wrote a post about it. So I was excited last week when all of the teachers at my school left mid-day to go to Palgong Mountain for a hiking trip.
We left school after lunch and drove to the park. Our trip began on the opposite side of the mountain from Dong Hwa Sa, so I got to see a totally different area. In the parking lot, each teacher was given a bag lunch, and then we started hiking immediately. I was confused as usual, so I just followed a few other teachers onto the trail.
I picked the wrong group and wound up hiking to the top of the mountain at full speed. The area to which we hiked is called Gasanbawi (가산바위), which is one of the highest points on the mountain. A huge rock at the top overlooks the mountains and valleys below. Most of the group got tired and slowed down as we hiked, so I reached the top with two other teachers about half an hour before the rest of the hikers arrived. This gave me time to relax, eat and snap a few pictures from the top.
Needless to say, the views were pretty amazing. We spent an hour on the rock, just soaking in the views. When the time came to move on, I didn’t want to leave. But we had to see one more thing before we left – the ruins of Gasan Castle (가산산성). I don’t know much about the castle, because I didn’t come across any signs informing hikers of its history. The only thing I could glean from the Konglish conversation I had with my fellow teachers is that the castle is the ruins of an ancient royal house/palace from a long time ago.
Most of the ruins have been refurbished in some way. You can see in the picture above that the top of the wall is made of newer stone than the bottom. Other sections of the castle walls, on the other hand, have been fully refurbished.
After we finished hiking, all of the teachers went to a restaurant near Palgong Mountain for dinner. As usual, we went to a traditional Korean restaurant that had great food. It was the normal spread – a few types of meat and lots of sides (mostly vegetables and mushrooms). At the end of the meal, we were served beer and a dong-dong-ju (동동주), which is a traditional rice wine that is similar to makgeolli. Like makgeolli, it is served in a bowl and has a sweet flavor without much alcohol taste. The primary difference between the two drinks is that dong-dong-ju is made in homes or restaurants and makgeolli is made in large breweries. It’s Korea’s traditional home-brew.
Until next time.