Danyang Area

This weekend we drove east to a town called Danyang. This is a gorgeous, less populated, part of Korea. On the way there we took a scenic drive along the Chungju Lake where Bryan enjoys flying. We stopped at a scenic boat terminal at Janghoe and took and hour long ride on the river to see the amazing cliffs and scenery. It really is nice. Unlike the rest of Korea, there are few homes and fields in the area. We continued through Danyang, which is a lovley little town, and on to Sobaeksan National park where we planned to camp at Namcheolli campground. Well, it was closed! aarghh. The other campgrounds were FAR away. Made the best of it and visited Guinsa temple, which is amazing. It’s a different sect of Buddhism than most of the others we’ve visited. They are very into regular people living like monks for a little while; simple food, simple life, lots of meditation. So, they have free meals at their kitchen and free lodging! We ended up staying at the temple and had a great, though sleepless, night. Dinner was lovely, and walking around the temple grounds at night was pretty. Many people were geniunely glad we were there and and nun brought us a whole bag of snacks and prayer beads! Zoe and I checked out the Buddha (where she loves to do the bows)while Bryan walked back to the car for some overnight necessities. Lodging is simple: a giant room for women and another for men. You claim a spot and sleep on the floor. great! However, these people are on a religious retreat. So, we were all awoken at 9:17 and at 9:30pm a monk came and spoke for an hour, then came a nun, then they started chanting meditation. Zoe slept through most of this. A nice young lady came and asked if it was “my first time,” “yes” …well they will only meditate until 4AM! what! ok, so I wasn’t sure what to do as Bryan was downstairs with the men and Zoe was passed out, so I meditated for a bit until Zuzz awoke. I didn’t want to be disrespectful, and really some other ladies had started to lay back down to sleep so we tried laying down again. But, since everyone was awake and the lights were blaring I knew she wouldn’t go back to sleep or be quiet so I grabbed our sleeping bag, purse, and a pillow. We found a cozy bench outside to sleep on until a nun came by and insisted I follow her. I explained (in pointy-talky) that Zoe wouldn’t sleep through the prayers so we were fine outside. I figured we’d just stay there until Zoe fell asleep again. Well, the nun found a monk who spoke english and he said he’d find us a family room (who knew these existed). He also called someone who grabbed Bryan. So, in the end we got our own little room where the other people with kids were. It was great. We could hear the muffled chanting, so it was still meditative. I still can’t get over their generosity and freindliness. In the morning we wandered around a bit more, then hiked back down to the car. Total immersion Buddhism, check. Next we visited Gosu cave – Korea’s biggest. It was immpressive and huge. It’s a neat walk through on your own kind of place. On the drive home we had a nice picnic on our new Korean mat while Zoe played at a playground. This evening we’re all so tired…in order to stay awake until 8 we went out for a walk. Zoe biked as we went to the market; it’s tough to keep up with her now. She is getting fast!

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