This past weekend our whole cohort went to Sokcho! It was really nice to have a break from lesson planning, observing, KLI class, and other programming. Sokcho is a pretty big tourist destination and is famous for its beaches and seafood!
Naturally, we were super excited to take a vacation and sit on the beach all weekend! Unfortunately, it rained the entire weekend because there was a typhoon. So a lot of us had to find other plans.
So when we got to Sokcho we realized that the bathroom in our hotel had a huge window. Here is Caroline modeling this for us. Luckily, there was a blind we were able to put down but it was still pretty funny. Aaaaand that’s how our weekend began!
That afternoon we went to the Naksana Buddhist Temple, which sits on the ocean. This was after we attended a lecture on Buddhism at the hotel. The professor who gave us the lecture accompanied us on our trip over! It was cool to apply everything that she said to us into a real life context. The architecture was beautifully well maintained. Before eating dinner at the temple, we were told that we had to be completely quiet while eating and only take the food that we can finish. Buddhists are very conscious about waste and preserving the environment. Fun fact, Buddhist cuisine is also vegetarian!
If I lived next to this place, I would probably take a walk through here every day if I could. It was pretty expansive and there were different places to sit. I could imagine just sitting there for hours in total serenity reading a book. We were also able to watch the ceremony that the monks perform at dusk each day, where they bang drums and ring a big bell!
The next day it was raining, so a few of us decided to get a taxi to a famous fish market in Sokcho rather than the beach. As soon as we stepped out of the taxi we were hit by a huge wall of fish smell. The market was partially outdoors and partially indoors, and there was more seafood there than I had ever seen in my life. Some fish were still alive in tanks, while other times there were just piles of different kinds of fish laid out. While I was there I ate this squid ink red bean pastry, which was super good. I also had rolled ice cream and dak gangjeong, which is a famous local kind of chicken!
Next, we headed over to the Cheoksan Hot Spring! It was about $8 per person, which was really nice. Before going in the hot springs, we hung out in some of the healing pools in the bathhouse. They ranged from being ice cold to scalding hot, so it was fun switching back and forth quickly. We weren’t allowed to actually take a picture of the hot spring, but this is from their website
It was raining out so it was actually super relaxing to sit in the hot spring and watch the rain fall down around us. I think we all agreed it was what we needed after a busy and stressful week. When you got out of the spring there were wooden recliners to sit on and just decompress.
Later on in the evening we had a fancy dinner with Director Shim! All 81 of us plus the KAEC people went out for samgyeopsal, or Korean BBQ. It was paid for by the Fulbright Commission, so that was nice!
The next day we were headed back to Incheon but made a few stops along the way at some different historical sites. We got to learn about the customs of traditional Korean living quarters and what life was like for high class men and women. We learned that men and women lived in different quarters, and once children turned 7 they had to live on the side with their assigned gender. We also learned about what each different building meant!
After getting totally soaked, we settled down for another Fulbright-provided traditional Korean lunch. It. Was. Incredible. The food was totally delicious, and there were more sides than we could count. Director Shim was there again too. We all wore nice socks since are shoes would be off and we’d be sitting on the floor.
KAEC treated us all to ice cream, and after that we were on our way on a bus back to Songdo! If it had been a bit more sunny on our weekend, I would have probably been writing this post about the beach instead honestly