I can’t thank nine stones enough for putting together this amazing trip to Andong. I took 300 photos, maybe 150 of them very cool and maybe 40 of them gorgeous like the one above. Because most of them have historical and cultural significance and there’s a story behind many of the photos, it’s going to be a major side project.
You can’t drive a mile without seeing some amazingly well-preserved 300+ year old buildings, many of them continuously occupied by descendents. It truly is the center of history in Korea, and I was lucky to see the oldest (over 700 years old) wooden structure and oldest statue. Got to visit Do-san Seowon, an elite Chosun dynasty Confuscian higher education institute, visited the Lee Yuksa (poet anarchist against Japanese occupation) memorial, got to spend the evening and overnight with the descendents of Hoejae (pronounced hwehjae) famous Korean philosopher (he’s on one of the Korean won bills, and it was him and not King Sejong that early I had said we were visiting) at Sujoldang, had a visit with the the descendents of Yi-Hwang (the most famous neo-confuscianist in Korea) at his home, saw possibly the most beautiful Buddist temple ever built at Bong sung Temple, and our only time spent with many other tourists was at Byoung-san Seowon, another elite higher education institute that probably owed its popularity due to the fact that it sat on the bluffs of a river with a lot of recreational activity on it.
I was really lucky having this connection with nine stones and I hope to get back to Andong one day. Two in our trip had lived there before, one had visited five times, one twice before, and Y and I had never been. There is enough to see for multiple trips. I don’t know why I’m here in officetel land. I don’t know why anybody is.
Next assignment must be rural.
Must study Korean hard.
2 thoughts on “Andong teaser”
Since I saw this photo, I look at it and I’m nostalgic of the old Korea where I lived as real Myung-Sook.
I can’t say it in present tense, even if I see such place still exists.
Yes. I’m nostalgic for it too, and I don’t have any memories of it.
It was the first time I saw the oiled paper floors you spoke of in your memoir…I was surprised at how thick, strong, waterproof, and non-oily the material was. It was so much more pleasant than the yellow vinyl or fake wood planks they use today…
It was also the first time I saw/experienced a real ondol being heated with a real wood fire. There was always hot water ready for tea, and the floor was hot closest to the fire and so you could regulate your temperature by where you sat in the room. I’m not a big fan of totally even heat and find it oppressive.
It was also nice to be in a courtyard home and feel protected yet connected to the outdoors at the same time.
The elevation of men over women imprinted on every aspect of culture, however, was not so nice…