I took a bit of liberty with the title of this post. It isn’t about the Andy Williams’ song by that name. Sorry if I misled you.
This post is actually about a photograph I took of a bridge in South Korea. I had previously posted about going to Hahoe Village which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village lies within a loop of the Nakdong River. Nearby is the town of Andong and it is there that we find Woryeong-gyo or the “reflection of the Moon on the river” bridge.
The Woryeong-gyo, with a length of 387 m, crosses the Nakdong River and is the longest wooden pedestrian bridge in South Korea.
There is a legend associated with the bridge. It is said that the construction style of the bridge resembles that of the mituri which is a type of traditional straw shoes made of paper, mulberry, bush clover, hemp, and rice straws. The legend speaks of a grieving wife who expressed her love for her deceased husband and her deep sorrow by making a pair of mituri sandals using her own hair. The bridge, so they say, commemorates her act of devotional love.
So in short, the bridge is about romance.
I got there on a cold winter night and I did indeed get to see the reflection of the moon on the river. It was indeed a beautiful and romantic spot. I might have enjoyed it more if I was not busy shivering and bracing myself against the chilly blasts of wind coming off the water. It took me many cups of ht tea later to feel warm again and to regain sensation in my fingers and exposed ears.
Still, despite the shivering, I managed to take this hand-held and long exposure photo of a pavilion located near the middle of the bridge. Sure, it ain’t perfect but I am still rather pleased with how it came out.
Ladies and gents……….(drum roll)………… the spirit of ethereal love as seen at the pavilion of the “reflection of the Moon on the river” bridge on the Nakdong River.
In the middle of the bustling city of Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, lies a 14 hectare oasis of tranquility. It is the United Nations Memorial Cemetery, the only one in the world honoring those that have fallen while serving the UN cause. Twenty-one nations sent men and women to serve in the Korean War and 11 of those countries are represented with plots in the cemetery.
However, it is still relatively unknown to many people. When I made enquiry about it to a couple of local Korean tourist guides, they expressed surprise that I would be interested in visiting the place. However, one of them came with me and left with a different and much more appreciative attitude. She promised that she would recommend it to other visitors in the future.
The Korean War was the costliest conflict involving troops serving under the United Nations flag with about 41,000 killed or missing. Among the casualties were not just soldiers but medical and aid personnel. The United States lost 36,600 service personnel with another103,300 injured. Last weekend, was Memorial Day in the U.S. which was the spur for this post.
When visiting a war memorial cemetery like this, one cannot help but ponder about the young men and women who served and died for a people and a place that they did not know and are now interred forever away from home.
There are 2,300 lie buried here including 4 known only to God.
The place is beautiful and serene. The Commission for the United Nations Memorial Cemetery (CUNMCK) has done a wonderful job and the Korean soldiers that stand watch over the place give honor to those that died in service for their nation.
My nephew’s wife (would that be my niece-in-law?) is a lovely Korean girl. So I guess it was just a matter of time that there was a family vacation to Korea to get to know the culture better and that is what we did last September.
We did make a trip to Gangnam to witness the Gangnam Style made famous by Psy ( the ladies wanted to do some shopping) but for me, it was just a cityscape like you could find almost anywhere in the world and filled with overpriced designer goods. So the real Gangnam like the Gangnam Style video just left me cold.
Instead, the highlight of the trip for me was our visit to Andong Hahoe Village. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a snapshot of Korean life that has remained relatively unchanged since the Joseon Dynasty at around the 16th Century.
Hahoe Village is beautifully located within a bend of the tranquil Nakdong River with beautiful sandy beaches and the imposing Buyongdae Cliff on the opposite bank. It’s name actually means “Village that is enveloped by water”.
Its buildings represent the architecture of the 16th Century and the Confucianism philosophy ascendent at that time. Indeed the village was suppose to be an incubator of intellectuals and court officials of the Joseon Dynasty.
However, what really makes this special is that the place (unlike many) has not been put on for tourists – it is still very much a real, working, living village with the villagers still living a mostly traditional life. A real time capsule with insight to the Korean psyche.
The villagers still work the land. Paddy fields, vegetable gardens, and orchards are found both in and around the village. Traditional crafts like mask making are still practiced and traditional costumes are still worn especially at weekends.
I loved the place. Hope you will enjoy the photos (all photos by LGS).
Oh, and the beef bbq Korean style in Andong is mucho delicious. A must try.
Viewing the World Through the Observation of Squirrels