April 18, 2013
Mid-April and a few days off work. A day trip is in order. At the suggestion of coworker and fellow blogger Jo-Anna, Chengdo was chosen as the destination. What’s in Cheongdo you might ask?
Well, heavily photoshopped posters never lie, so Cheongdo ho!
They have a decent information site here: http://english.cheongdo.go.kr/open_content/main_page/
Cheongdo is both the name of the county and the main town in the county. It’s a fairly quiet place, so our itinerary consisted of:
Bullfighting (main purpose)
The Wine Tunnel (another friend told me it was nearby)
Unmunsa (big temple complex – if time allows)
We left Seoul around 7am and arrived four hours later at Cheongdo station. Needless to say we didn’t take the KTX, but I didn’t mind the extra time considering the cost. Once there, if you are in a rush and/or don’t care about costs, there are always taxis waiting outside Cheongdo station. Be warned though, they are more expensive than their Seoul counterparts, though still reasonable.
We decided to take the bus. The bus terminal is a short walk north of the train station. You’ll have to buy tickets first, and while the people there don’t know much if any English, they’ll know you’re probably going to either the bull fights or the wine tunnel.
First stop the bullfighting arena.
Now when I say bull fighting, I’m not talking about the Spainish styled toreador fighting bulls. I find that to be too cruel to be enjoyable. Cheongdo bullfighting is much more bulls butting heads. Kinda like how most Europeans view American football. But instead of running a ball to an end zone, the bulls face off until one backs down or runs away.
Representing the bullfighting event are the two characters Bunga and Ka-oo (Cow).
Notice the cute little Ssireum belts around their waists. I hope to do a Ssireum post sometime in the future, but I’ll wait until I go to see such an event.
They even had some BS.
Appropriate. Though apparently the artist has no idea what real cow dung looks like.
I’m still on the fence on how I feel about the whole affair. On the one hand, it’s fairly natural thing for bulls to clash horns. Kinda like watching those nature documentaries about bighorns or deer butting heads and locking horns. On the other hand they’re still forced to fight. Though as it isn’t designed for bloodshed and pain like dog or cock fighting, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to experience it. You can make your own moral judgements.
We happened to be there during the first day of a festival, so not only was there bull fighting, but the general festival festivities. Including…
After having our fill of the festival we went to the adjoining “Bull Fighting Theme Park”, which is not so much a theme park as it is a museum.
The front is basically a very abstracted view of two bulls butting heads. You can even see their eyes.
Afterwards we went a bit further north to the Wine Tunnel. Persimmon Wine that is!
It says ‘since 1904’ though that’s really just the tunnel’s existence, not so much the wine thing. That started in 2006.
The tunnel is nice and cool and pretty humid. The front end of the tunnel is a wine bar, while the deep bowels of the place is where they make the wine. Which, since we were not part of any tour, we could not see. So instead here are some pics of us enjoying the persimmon wine instead!
I’m not particularly fond of persimmons, but the persimmon wine is tasty.
Why, yes, that is their web address: www.gamwine.com – and yes, it’s all in Korean.
After our wine tasting we noticed a sign.
Daejeok temple. Only 100m away? Let’s go!
Daejoek temple (대적사) is a very small complex of about three temple structures, plus what looks like two living quarters. If you go to the Wine Tunnel, might as well visit this “National Treasure No. 836”.
And if you’re there in the spring, you’ll see this lovely orchard of Royal Azaleas. Actually, neither of us being that big on botany, we didn’t know what they were. But it seemed the bees did. Or… well, I’m sure they knew what they were doing.
To finish our day we went to a small dingy samgyeopsal place and ordered ‘moksal’ – the neck meat. Don’t know if its common in Cheongdo or if its a quirk of this restaurant, but this place included ‘odaeng’ and ‘ddeok’ for grilling along side the moksal, kimchi, mushrooms and of course garlic.
Unfortunately we forgot to include shots of the finished food. Probably because we were a tad in a hurry to get back to the station – we just barely made the last train!
Cheongdo, farewell! Didn’t make it to Unmunsa, but maybe someday.
Oh, and let’s not forget a local Giant Nose Turtle…
Giant Nose Turtle!