Damyang, Korea for Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Destinations, Korea, Travel Photo Thursday | 49 comments

Welcome to the 227th edition (05/14/2015)  of Travel Photo Thursday, and the BIG birthday. This is the first time that my birthday has fallen on Travel Photo Thursday, and I’ve also moved into a new decade (gulp!). I’m not much of a party animal, and wanted to do something different for this birthday. A friend of mine just happened to be organizing a spiritual retreat last weekend, so off I went to Damyang for my birthday weekend. I did get out with the camera (first time in ages), and I think I got some lovely shots. Have a look!

Don’t forget to leave a comment and your link when you finish reading and looking 🙂

Damyang is a rural hamlet about 30 to 45 minutes outside of  the  historical city Gwangju, and 2 hours south of Daejeon. I took an early Munghwa train out of Daejeon. There are several types of trains in Korea, and the Munghwa is the slow train. The trip was about 2 (relaxing) hours in a comfortable seat with my book for company. Upon arrival, I headed to the bus station to meet the rest of the group. The owners of Damyang House, Sean and Jo Jo, graciously whisked us off to our countryside retreat.

Damyang House…

Damyang House

One of our favorite places to hang out was the kitchen island… (Being from Nova Scotia, I was right at home at the kitchen party!)
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Getting ready for the evening circle…

 

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The house backs onto a beautiful bamboo forest…

 

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Love the light…

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Look up, look way up…

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Around the neighborhood I found properties that have been rebuilt, and some that have been abandoned. A number of the homes that have been refurbished are now Minbaks. These are traditional Korean homes that rent rooms by the night. If you have ever dreamed of spending time in a traditional Korea house, this is for you!

 

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On Saturday night we ate at a traditional Korean restaurant, and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset on our walk to the restaurant.

 

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I love Korean restaurants outside of the city. Usually, everything is homemade, and just soooooo over-top-delicious!

Banchon (side dishes)…All were fantastic, but two are memorable. The Kimchi (orange colored food behind the bean sprouts) was the absolute best I have ever eaten. It was very well aged, but still had a lovely texture and flavor. Quite often Kimchi can leave you with a lot of burn, but this had mellowed out perfectly. I cannot say the same for the dish beside the bean sprouts. Blurred out a bit, but those are cured anchovies with green chilies. The anchovies are good, and not too hot. Somehow a green chili managed to find its way into my mouth. I love hot food, but this was beyond. Imagine smoke billowing out of the top of my head. The heat lasted a good 20 minutes, and the chili lingered and lingered. Mary Ann, our fearless organizer, thought maybe I was a wimp. She changed her mind once she bit into that ring of fire! 🙂

 

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Now bring on the grilled duck and the homemade tofu…hmmmm. The tofu was stuffed with awesome tasting seaweed! Koreans usually eat any type of grilled meat wrapped in lettuce leaves with various condiments. For me, this duck was so good that it did not need anything! I ate my duck naked! 🙂

 

Grilled duck and homemade tofu in Damyang, Korea

 

 

The spiritual side of the weekend was very personal for all involved. We did sitting meditation, dancing meditation, released some of out hopes and dreams into the universe.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of rural Korea. If you are ever in Korea, and want to experience the rural side, contact Sean and Jo Jo. They are great hosts, and I am sure if Damyang House is available, they would love to have you.

Don’t forget your comment and your link!

If you’re looking for past Travel Photo Thursdays, here you go.


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49 Comments

  1. Happy, Happy Birthday! Lovely photos of what looks like a memorable birthday. The food looks fantastic and so does the area.

    • Hi Jill! Thank you, and yes it is a beautiful area and I would go back in a moment for the food!!

  2. Very beautiful place… and the food looks delicious.

    • Thank you! Everything was great!

  3. Happy Birthday!! What a lovely way to spend your special time.

    I posted food from Thailand today!

    • Hi Jackie! It really was lovely. I’ll be checking out your great food post. I’m missing Thai food right now.

  4. Nancie, What a gorgeous place to spend your birthday. I think I know what you wished for…I love that light through the bamboo. I never stayed in a Korean home when I lived there. I would love to do that!

    • Hi Corrine. I would go back in a moment. The bamboo forest was amazing, and there were so many old buildings that I wanted to take more shots of, but ran out of time.

  5. Happy birthday and thank you for taking us along to the retreat. It sounds like you had a wonderful weekend.

    • Hi Jill and thanks! Yes, it was a great weekend.

  6. Wow! Happy birthday! I hope it is the start of a GREAT decade! Loved seeing your pictures from the retreat – it looks like a beautiful place to slow down and take time for yourself.

    • Hi Cindy! I think it was a good start to the decade. A little introspection is never a bad thing!

  7. Looks like a wonderful place to celebrate a birthday. Hope you’re having a great day 🙂

    • Hi Sophie. Thank you! Had a wonderful day, and weekend!

  8. Sounds like a LOVELY way to spend a birthday! The sound of bamboos rustling in the wind is magical, isn’t it?Happy birthday!

    • Hi Lo! Yes, loved the bamboo forest!

  9. Happy, happy birthday! Glad to see you did something different to celebrate. The place looks amazing.

    • Hi Ruth. It was amazing, and I definitely want to go back one of these days.

  10. happy happy birthday! ^0^
    I hope this spiritual retreat was meaningful esp on your special day.
    I haven’t been to korea yet and seeing these photos made me marvel at how beautiful the countryside is, not your usual mainstream sights for sure.

    • Hi! It was meaningful, and I’m so glad that I decided to do this. Finding a spot in Korea that is out in the country is harder and harder these days!

  11. Travel is the best birthday present! glad you had a memorable experience.

    • Thanks, Eileen. I loved the slow pace of the weekend, and getting out on the country roads.

  12. What a great time you had! Happy birthday.

    • Hi Betty! Yes, it was a good time and thanks for the birthday wishes.

  13. Rural Korea looks very enticing. Your wonderful photos really do it justice. It sounded like a very therapeutic retreat.

    • Hi Kathy. It really gives an entirely different perspective to Korea, and it was therapeutic.

  14. What a lovely birthday treat! The geometric elements of the buildings are beautifully portrayed in your photos. And the food looks divine!

    • Hi Betsy. I had fun photographing the buildings, and the food was fab!

  15. Happy birthday! It is always nice to spend milestones (and any birthday) in special places.

    • Hi Charles. I totally agree!

  16. A beautiful glimpse of an aspect of Korea that is not usually seen by outsiders.

    • Hi Andrew. That is so true. Usually all we see are the big cities!

  17. Happy Birthday. Damyang House looks like a great place for a spiritual retreat, especially right beside the bamboo forest. The food looks pretty good too.

    • Hi Donna…It really was perfection!

  18. #1 Happy birthday, again. Certain milestone birthdays deserve special recognition. This seems like a worthy way to celebrate. I can’t eat spicy food (I think it’s genetic), so I’m not sure how I would do with a lot of Korean cuisine. It sounds like the only thing missing from your retreat was some zentangling 😉

    • Hi Suzanne. Thanks so much. Not all Korean food is spicy. The duck that we had was grilled with no spice. It only got spicy if I added sauce to it. Even though I like spice, the meat was so delicious that I ate it as it was served. We did do some mandala coloring 🙂

  19. The shots of the forest are awesome! A bamboo forest… I hope to be able to see something like that someday!

  20. Happy, happy birthday! May each year of the coming decade be at least as happy and meaningful as this one!

  21. Happy Birthday to you!!! Korean food is yummy! I went to a Korean restaurant in Montreal last summer – loved the kimchi and the little side dishes are a great custom. One day I will definitely travel to Korea to experience the culture.

    • Hi Susan. Yes, I love the side dishes that always accompany a Korean meal. They are called banchan. 🙂

  22. Lovely pictures of the place and the food – I’d never imagined Korea as being at all like that!

  23. Happy Belated Birthday!! This retreat really looks like a nice, mellow way to escort in a new decade. That bamboo forest is so pretty and relaxing. I like chatting around the kitchen work table, too.

  24. I’ve never seen pictures of rural Korea before so this was very interesting to me! I”m reading a book – The Orphan Master’s Son – right now and it’s set in North Korea so I’m surrounded by Korea all of the sudden! I just had a birthday last week in a decade I can’t believe I’m in either so we’re in this together!

  25. Happy Birthday!! It sounds like you had a wonderful time at the retreat. Your photos are glorious!!

    • Hi Marilyn. Thanks so much, and it was an awesome retreat.

  26. Hi Nancie, I’m Sean, the owner of The Damyang House. Somehow I stumbled on this post…very fun to see your photos and your appreciation of the countryside. Not enough expats make it out of the city! Anyway, this made my morning so thanks~

    Best,
    Sean

    • Hi Sean! Loved Damyang House and your hospitality. I thought I had sent you a link. However, I’ve been going non-stop so obviously forgot. I’m glad you found the blog and this post!

  27. What a lovely way to usher in a new decade Nancie. What goes down in the evening circle? I’ve heard so much about kimchi and it seems like the varieties are endless.

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