Hotel California – We are still here!

As we all continue in different states of seclusion and as the coronavirus persistently spreads more widely, perhaps you are having a Hotel California moment. When can we leave??? I’ll continue this thread with more of our incomparable experiences during the 2013 “Yeongwol, A World of Museums.” Not only was it a world of many different and unique museums and collections in this beautiful region of Korea, but we also had adventures in eating (always a pleasurable experience in Korea), and enjoyable excursions in the breathtaking landscape. Perhaps these images will brighten your day was you remain inside.

I’ve already introduced the Kim Satkat Culture Hall, a literary shrine to Kim Satkat, a wandering poet, and the Chosun Minhwa Museum, specializing in the folk paintings, two interesting specialty museums (see March 24 post). Here are some other of the museums in Yeongwol, making it the museum county of Korea. I already presented one image of miners in the The Yeongwol Cave Eco Museum, ( set into a mountainside. Here are a few more looks.

Entrance to the museum
A lesson in geology
Bugs underground

Yeongwol’s African Art Museum is based on the collection of Cho Myung-hang, a retired Korean career diplomat. Cho served as ambassador to Nigeria in the 90s. It is not the only collection of African Art in Korea in a museum context. There is the impressive African Art Museum in Jeju Island, another place in Korea alive with more museums than a person has fingers and toes. I was fortunate to visit it in 2014. The Yeongwol museum is located in a former elementary school. You couldn’t tell that now.

Approaching the museum

Next stop was the Dong Gang Museum of Photography, Korea’s first public museum devoted to photography. Here, traditional exhibits inside the galleries as well as outdoor displays allow visitors to also take in the amazing surrounding natural backdrop. Among the activities sponsored by the museum are a Photo Festival and an award.

In between each museum stop we passed fields rich with whatever was growing in the fall. Some of the crops we recognized, other we did not. These convey a sense of the beauty of the region.

Korea is rich in historic heritage including a number of restored royal tomb sites. We visited the Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty, one of eighteen locations around the country and the furthest from Seoul. One thing that I’ve always notice while visiting Korean museums is the number of children among the visitors. They may be with parents or they may be part of school field trips.

I was taken by the kids

One more museum to finish the day. Yes, we had museum fatigue, but continued to be fascinated by the scope of collections, many of them private, and the support for these institutions.  This is the World Folk Musical Instrument Museum, another labor of love. If you are curious and want to learn more about the Yeongwol’ s many museums, check this site, you’ll see that we did not get to nearly all of them –

Banners greeted us along the way
I loved the use of dolls

Along the way, somewhere, we passed street food. Street food is big in Korea and comes in many varieties, here’s just a few …

Fish cake on a stick
Fresh sweet corn, just like at home
Who can resist the squirrel selling roasted chestnuts?
I have always resisted these … maybe I’ll try one day.

On our itinerary was a stop at a local weekly market. I don’t know if you are famished for fresh vegetables now. I’m doing ok, but tomorrow is slated for an expedition to the supermarket. The goods at this market were so enticing.

jujubes, Asian dates

And more street food at the market …

chickens frying
chickens ready to go
different types of pancakes

I think I’m hungry now. Lunch that day was a very special meal, an especially healthy meal – Samgyetang, ginseng chicken soup. According to maangchi, one of the many on-line Korean cooking sites, this dish is eaten “during the hottest days of summer” to balance body heat with the outside weather. She quotes a Korean saying, “Yi yeol chi yeol (以熱治熱: 이열치열), which means “fight fire with fire.”

I think these ladies were preparing raw ginseng or a similar root –

I love to stop in the kitchen to see what’s cooking. Here’s the soup in the big pot and lots of banchan varieties.

The table set for the hungry museumgoers –

And the chicken soup, stuffed with ginseng and rice …

I promised some landscapes, so here’s a few in closing. I’d like to transport myself there, in isolation on a crisp fall day.

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