Sunday, October 11, 2015

Delicious Silk Worms on a Rainy Day

The weather has changed, and rain is in the air. We had to convince Mrs. Lee and Mr. Shin that we were perfectly fine with sightseeing in the rain, although they did insist on holding umbrellas over us if we ever wandered out into the wet stuff unprotected. We had a nice day, unhurried by any specific schedule, and got the chance to leave the cities and see a bit of the rural Korea. We started the day with a tour of the Oeam Folk Village, a town of about 200 people that has been designated a national heritage site. They have set up a number of buildings for touring, and we wandered around the charming town with stone fences and thatch roofed homes. The rice is a lovely yellow color this time of year, getting ready to be harvested at the end of the month. Small pumpkins grow on the tops of the stone fences, and persimmon, chestnut and quince trees are sprinkled throughout.

The plan was to have lunch at a restaurant in the village, but a downpour was just starting as we got there and everybody else had the same idea to get in out of the rain as well. Plan B (thanks to a smart phone huddle), we went to a “chicken soup restaurant”. Sounds innocuous, doesn’t it? My, oh my! We traveled up into the hills, farther and farther, until we were all sure the bus would tumble down the hillside at any moment. The restaurant is owned and run by a family of 3, and a dog, and just beautiful, with traditional seating on a heated floor at a low table. We were the only ones there, so got a good opportunity to learn about the region and food. We’re fairly certain that everything that went into the chicken soup came from within 100 yards of the restaurant. They specialize in silk worms – they’re fermented into a wine as well as a delicacy added to the soup and are supposed to be good for high blood pressure and diabetes. Mulberries are also prominent, with the bark flavoring the soup and several accompanying dishes including the berries. But the worms – Steve managed 3 of them but Rebecca just couldn’t handle it!

After lunch we stopped at General Yi Sun-sin’s shrine for a nice walk in the pouring rain. General Yi is the admiral credited with saving the country from Japanese invasion in the 1590s. We were also treated to a cultural dance performance in an exhibition hall there.

From there, back to the Festival Center for a little more of the dance competition and wandering the booths. We returned to our hotel for some pizza and beer, and an early night to bed.

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