Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Haemi Fortress Fall Festival & Apple Picking in Chungcheongnam-do

On October 12-13th, I went on my first tour with Adventure Korea to the 해미읍성 (Haemi Fortress) Fall Festival in Chungcheongnam-do which is a province south and west of Seoul.  I met some really awesome people on this trip, one of which is heading back to Missouri after teaching in a hagwon (private academy) in Seoul.  We had a really great time talking during the trip and I'm very thankful she was so friendly and willing to let me tag along with her and her friend during the trip.

(As a side note, most of the people I've met at and through Adventure Korea have been very nice.)

The Adventure Korea crew.
Tracy, on the right, is the friend I made from Missouri.  I think we have plans
for her to visit me when I get back in a year.  She'd like to try some homemade jelly.
(Photo courtesy of the Adventure Korea (AK) photographers.)
At the festival we walked along the top of the wall to the front gate...

...where we were shuffled outside and got to watch an opening ceremony (men in traditional Korean clothing lined up in front of the doors, they played drums, and then they dropped a sign with a bunch of hangeul on it).

Once inside we got to enjoy all the pretty:

The shot on the right is one of my absolute favorites from this trip.

There were a variety of things to do, including making rice in big stone pots, buying from peddlers, weaving ropes, playing traditional Korean games (I got to try to throw arrows in hoops which I've seen in dramas... it's really hard and I almost made one of my six tosses - nicked the rim)...

One of our tour guides playing with some children (Photo: AK).
There were so many kites being played with!
Watching archery and other traditional performances...

Getting tortured... (I saw it in dramas... I didn't think it would hurt so much.  IT HURT SO MUCH.  I think the traditional actor was a little too excited to torture all of us foreigners...)...

The best part about this was the number of Korean children that wanted their
friends or parents to beat them (Photo: AK).

Touring the original houses inside the fortress...

This is a gem.  Guess what this room was?
I learned these were persimmons!  I was wondering!
Eating some food... I think I ate a pancake and a half by myself...

Seeing a Korean wedding where they married a really old couple (like 90's? Pushing 100?), wandering around to various booths (minus the one where the one mean girl said it was only for kids and we couldn't do it!  I liked the other girl because she was going to let us...), and trying teas that I didn't know what they were made of but realized I've had before.  Sharing a rice cake from a tiny little Korean girl with a new friend...

This machine popped the rice cakes and then shot them out like frisbees!

And just plain old wandering around and enjoying the beautiful fall day.  It kind of sucked that I was actually really sick for it and was loaded up on painkillers, but I could still enjoy it.

A "traditional" fire hose?
Before we headed off to the apple orchard, I made sure to walk once around the top of the wall which is said to give you good luck.  If you go around twice you will find love and a third time around means you'll go to heaven.  But I had time for one so I'll take the good luck.

Then we all hopped onto the bus and headed over to an apple orchard for apple picking and a winery tour.

(Photo: AK)
The apples were huge!  Bigger than large grapefruits and so sweet and delicious!

After picking our apples (we were allowed three with the cost of the tour and 2000W for each extra), we went inside for the winery tour.  The owner had inherited the farm from his father and he built the entire winery himself.  He actually studied winery-related stuff (what would that major be called?) in Canada and had very good English.

I thought it looked like a liquid Nitrogen tank and it was!
Such a science nerd.
We got to try apple wine (and apple brandy if you were feeling adventurous).  The bottles of apple wine actually had flecks of GOLD inside it.  I feel like drinking gold is not a good idea.

Then we made miniature apple pies...

And apple jelly as well!

(Photo: AK)

(Left Photo: AK)

They gave us saltines to eat the last vestiges of apple jelly left in our pots after we had filled our jars.  When we emerged from our jelly cooking, we were met with a beautiful sight:

(Photo: AK)
I ate the whole thing and then slept most of the way back to Seoul.  Yep.  It was great.  I made it with a little time to spare before meeting Laura and Lindsey for our jimjilbang (Korean bath house) and DMZ adventure the next day.

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