I have been doing all sorts of interesting things with a good friend of mine in the last year. Among those were coffee shop discoveries, Hanbok Day, and this time, a trip to Gapyung. Not being from a cold weather town, she does not usually get white Christmas, and Korea, while being cold in winter, is not exactly winter wonderland either.
That is, unless you know where to look. Now being from a cold place I never really found the Asian habit of looking for cold stuff just for the thrill of it really interesting.
My logic is that, knowing how unpleasant it is to be in incredibly cold places, I don't feel like it is any type of 'activity' to look forward to. I am thinking of the place I saw in Korea or Japan where they'd make an artificial 'winter wonderland' with ice all over one room, ice slides, plastic penguins and the only thing you do is - walk - through the entire room, and maybe if you care enough, take pictures, that will show really badly, since the whole room is overly blue and under lit.
Apart from the fact that it's definitely a boring activity that sorts of undermines the idea of winter wonderland itself (being outdoors, breathing fresh air and recharging to bright sun and doing some sport or just walk in a forest and feel nature all around you) because it's so fake, smells horrible and humid, is stuffy and incredibly indoors, I disagree with the extremely wasteful use of energy to keep those rooms to -31 degrees in the middle of the summer.
We went to Gapyung last December to enjoy the cold, the outdoors, the snow, and the Christmas light! All that with her great camera skills! The pictures with decent resolution are all hers :)
Looking at those mountains was a shock for me. I am so used to see needle trees that stay green over mountain tops, that I was really not expecting to see this kind of landscape. Notice how we see the white snow all over the ground on the mountains, even from far away. The top of the trees make for a thick brown layer of ink-like painting lines all over the mountain, and I feel like I finally understand why Asians painted the lines of mountains with such thick lines....
The first stop we took was a food break. We got Bossam (보쌈) in a random store on the way to the small village. We were obviously the only foreigners at that time of day, to go for bossam, but we were also the only people under 70. The place was half-filled with a group of older Koreans enjoying their weekend in the cold, sunny, snowy weather. The meal was amazing.
You can usually get either pork or oyster bossam. The one we got had both, and came with a warm soup. It was perfect to fill up our stomachs and warm us up before the trip to the garden.
We got there in early afternoon, and I was happy we did because there were almost no one (the garden is mainly popular for it's night Christmas lights in winter, so people don't seem to go as much during the day). A friend told me, when I got to Korea, that the best time of day for taking pictures is around 3pm. At that time, on a bright day, the light is at its peak. Bright and beautiful. The site was gorgeous and drenched in sunlight.
It was really cold though.
I don't know why, but I thought Gapyung was warmer, while in fact, it is much more northern and thus much colder than Seoul area. The only time I went to Gapyung was in the summer, so my mind stayed set on a warm setting. Anyways. It was reaaaaaly cold.
After a while walking around on the site, we went to a coffee shop to warm up while waiting for the daylight to go. The point was defeated as the coffee shop, while pretty and coffee decent, was not really warm, so when we went back outside, I was not ready for the cold of the fading sunlight. We walked around as the day grew colder, and it was with anticipation that I waited for the lights to finally turn on.
We were waiting for the lights to turn on, and my friend asked me to turn around for a picture. A second after she took it and turned the camera to see how it turned out, the lights lit up just like magic. This is the before-after, with extra mink hoodie because it was coooold.
Couple of shots of the after-dark (here again, pictures were taken by my friend Caitlin Gabrielle :)
As we were leaving, the sky kept getting darker and darker so we finally got real night shots. It was getting really crowded though, so we left at just the right time :) Yay for winning journeys!
I never seem to think time passes too slowly ever. There are times where I think 5 minutes feels like an eternity, but never a day. I have long stopped to 'bear' with time passing, and am mostly embracing it's passing by. I know that however hard days can be, they pass by fast, and only what we choose to leave in our memories really stays.
And it's all good like that.
Last year I didn't see the end of year pass by. My memories lay with the moving to Guro, and the transition to Mokdong life. I had never thought I'd have so much things to bring around and accumulated so much. This time around I wonder what kind of luggage I will bring with me and what I will leave.
Last view of my apartment in Dongtan. I realize how crazy those two years I've spent here were on many levels, and how different they were from another.
Getting the girlz installed and cozy in the new apartment.