Last Sunday I went to Gunsan which is about 30 minutes away from Iksan. First I went to church with an English teacher at my school who I’ve been calling “Cate.” The teacher I’m replacing who I’ve been calling “Ree” also goes to that church. It’s an English spelling church that I think mostly consists of military guys and families. After the service we had lunch there.
Then Cate and 2 friends I had hung out with the day before decided to go exploring around Gunsan. First we went to see the only surviving Japanese temples in Korea. Quick history lesson: at one point Japan occupied Korea and forced the Korean people to assimilate into Japanese culture which included destroying Korean palaces and temples and building their own temples. It’s interesting how this is not too different from American history in some ways, right? Think European settlers forcing Native Americans to assimilate to their culture. Even now there are some Koreans who aren’t the fondest of Japanese people because Japan never official apologized for what they did. Eerily similar to American history right?
Anyway it was a long, long walk to get there and we stopped at this bakery to get snacks to eat later.
But the long walk was so worth it. Honestly I wasn’t expecting much, but it was beautiful and really awesome. Sitting atop a hill in the small city it felt so peaceful. I felt like I was in another world. And it was nice that it was not super crowded too. Nice bamboo forest in the back too.
Then we walked through what could be called “Japanese town.” There we also saw an old Japanese house that we walked around.
Next we headed to the sea or some body of water. It was low tide so we were quite far from the water, but we still enjoyed it as we sat down and ate some snacks we had bought. I guess the boardwalk (not sure if you would call it that) had some military artifacts. The huge ship was actually a museum. And they had aircrafts around.
After that we took a taxi back to where we started. And eventually I managed to take the city bus back to Iksan and then take another bus to my home all by myself without getting lost! Cate said we walked 5 miles which explains why I was also very tired that evening. But I definitely enjoyed my time exploring more of Korea.