Tuesday, December 05, 2017

66 hours in Busan – part II

My final work day in Busan our hosts did something amazing. Since they knew most of the conference participants had little to no time to explore the city, and that the vast majority had travelled great distances to Busan, they organized a tour for all of us right after the end of the conference! Awesome!

Our first stop? One of the temples I had originally intended to visit but couldn't because of lack of free time! Haedong Yonggungsa Temple (해동 용궁사)! A seaside Buddhist temple from 1376! 

But first, before getting to the entrance, you had to cross a small market with seaweed, treats, and seafood on sale. Again, this looked rather intriguing, but definitely not appetizing: 

Once past the stands – the temple. First, through a gate and descending path that took you to a sitting Buddha nearby with people praying and beautiful sweeping views of the temple and the sea...

Once at the temple itself, there was a shrine. And underneath, an underground chapel. At the chapel, people would do some ritual where they'd pour water three times into a small canal, and then drink a little of the water they were pouring. A curious space, wet, with numerous candles... 

The main part of the temple was the kind of architecture I always notice in Korea. I can see the Chinese origins, but I can also tell that a number of details and the use of colour is neither Chinese nor Japanese, but its own very distinctive Korean interpretation.

If you climbed via a narrow path, you could get to the highest part of the complex for more views but, more importantly, for a representation of the Guanyin, the Bodhisattva of compassion. 

Now, walking back to the bus through the food market I spotted these. Some sort of pastry filled with red bean paste. And piping hot! I grabbed a bagful!

This would have been more than enough, you know? I loved this temple.

But, the tour consisted of two parts, you see? And they couldn't have been more different from each other. Because the second stop was the Lotte Outlet Mall. I decided to join for this second part because I was curious about visiting this as part of a Korean experience. But I don't seem to enjoy malls. And this was no exception. The highlights? The sunset I could enjoy when I exited the complex out of boredom, and one of the best matcha ice-creams I've had in my life! LOL 

At the end, they dropped us back at our hotel, after which i decided to go back to the place where I had enjoyed ramen the night I arrived. I was dying to try something else they offered and that I had never seen before – kimchi dumplings! Like, two of the best things in the world combined into one! Totally delicious. Followed by some not so delicious but still good shrimp skewers in a weird batter.

My flight was next morning. Like, I had to be up and ready to catch the bus before 5am. So after dinner, I just went bed. But still, what a fantastic short visit!

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