Just 20 minutes south of Seoul is the refreshingly quiet suburb of Anyang. Surrounded by miles of hiking trails -- I never realized how mountainous Korea was until moving here -- the newly-developed Anyang Art Park and entirely centering around a gently flowing river, Anyang is a busy city that still feels up-and-coming.
Walking just a block away from the main street is almost like being in another country. There are actual parking lots, not just a car or two parked haphazardly on the sidewalk. In fact, there isn't much traffic at all. Huge trees shade the sidewalks going up and down either side of the river. People were eating lunch in groups of two or three along the water. No honking cars, no zooming motorbikes. I didn't even see a McDonald's!
It was peaceful.
One of the most famous sights in Anyang is a rock engraving of a monk hitting a bell. This is the only stonework of its kind in Korea and is believed to date to either the Unified Silla or Goryeo Dynasty -- in other words, more than 1000 years ago.
Signs for Buddhist temples abound in Anyang. This small shrine was set up in a parking lot.
One of the nice things about Korea is that everything is so closely linked thanks to an incredible subway system. Although it's not part of Seoul proper, Anyang is located on a central subway line, which even runs much farther out. For about 1500 won each way, I was able to ride more than an hour from my house to the south. That's pretty impressive.
Eating outdoors, Korean style.
Days off, why do you pass so quickly? Luckily I have one more tomorrow before another six-day workweek.