UNESCO World Heritage Sites make my heart skip with nerdy delight. It is one of the things I’m most looking forward to about Japan. The other week I got a bit of a warm-up for Japan and all of it’s UNESCO-ness when I went to one of the Korean UNESCO sites I hadn’t geeked out at yet.
I took a trip up to Andong, my second one ever, mostly to go visit some of my ‘people’. The trip to Hahoe was icing on the cake.
Chris and Ahnna are 1/3 of the Fab 6, and some of my favorite people in Korea. It’s so nice and truly rare when you just click with people and it becomes so easy. I miss them terribly and I wish they lived closer, but I am glad that we’re in the same country and only a few hours away. They are really great, smart, funny, friendly, caring people who are big giant loveable hippies and all around kick-ass. There’s a reason why they are such good travelers, and it’s because they get along with so well with so many different types of people.
So after a weekend of Chris’s great home brewed beer, nerdy fun time, and Spiderman, we spent Sunday exploring Hahoe Traditional Village.
I loved Hahoe! It is this great tiny village that transports you back to ‘Traditional Korea’. Korea is a country so deeply rooted in tradition, and I truly have seen a lot of it, but this gave it all so much more context. I’ve seen museums full of old pottery and tools and traditional fan dances and costumes, and even models of the famous Turtle ships, but seeing how people lived daily life tucked in by the mountains and lush fields made it all the more vivid and real.
Andong’s claim to fame is their masks. And even out in the village which is a little ways away from the city they keep up the theme.
I wish I could buy one of these beauts and send it back to the States for my one-day home.
What’s really great about the village is that people really live there. It’s not a place that shuts down at 5pm when the crowds leave. This does mean that there are some anachronistic details around the village, but I like it better knowing that real people with satellite TV live here.
So many of the structures are built with cob, or earthen building materials. It’s really cool, super sturdy and really frames the village beautifully.
This is one of my favorite views in the whole village. Who would’ve thought the girl from the flat MidWest would become obsessed with mountains.
There are special details everywhere in this place. These houses have been lived in for generations and it’s so great to know things like this continue to live on.
I love this big door….
and these GIANT swings!! They were awesome!
I have to say my favorite thing about the village was just all the beautiful scenery and trees, and the whole open seclusion of it all.
My hands down favorite part of HaHoe was the goddess tree.
This tree is over 600 years old and is the residence of the goddess Samsin who is a patron of pregnancy and birth.
The ropes around the tree are completely covered with notes of wishes and requests from those who come to the tree.
Of course all three of us tied on our own messages, when in Rome.
Another cool thing is that they have Minbak’s in the village, so you can actually spend the night and go wandering around this awesome place at night.
Even with the heat of the day, this place was stunning, and just the sort of country escape I crave when I’ve been in the city for too long. The lush greenery with giant swings and stunning lotus flowers blooming in a pond on the way in was really a perfect day. Great job with the seal of approval UNESCO- this place rocks.
From Andong with Traditional Love,