Busan Parent Weekend
So it’s been 10 days into Parent Extravaganza 2010 and we just came back from a lovely weekend in Busan. After an arduous journey my parents finally arrived in Korea after being delayed in Japan for a night and arguing with their hotel about the definition of “paid for with miles”. I was thrilled to finally see them and we had a great time going to all the sightseeing places we’ve missed in Busan so far.
We were all united on Friday night and we decided to go to our favorite sandwich shop, Buccella, in Haeundae for a quick dinner. After catching up over food, we took a quick stroll along the beach and then headed to our hotels for an early night.
On Saturday we scooped up all the parents and decided to take a walk along the beach while the weather was still dry. We walked towards the Westin Chosun from the Novotel on Haeundae and were headed towards the light house on the other end, not quite knowing what to expect.
We were pleasantly surprised with beautiful, lush mountain landscapes overlooking the water and rocks. We walked through Dongbaek Park, which apparently used to be an island of some sort, but now is connected to the mainland. The views kept getting better as we walked along, and we reached the lighthouse and APEC center after a half hour or so of leisurly walking. After checking that out, and taking pictures to our hearts’ content, we decided to head over to the Jagalchi fish market. On the way there we stopped at Shinsegae department store for lunch. We ate our food court meals while watching the ice skaters in the indoor skating rink.
The fish market was a place we’d been meaning to go to every time we visited Busan. It seemed like a thrilling slice of unique, authentic Korean culture. It definitely lived up to that, but it is also a huge expanse of dead, slowly dying, or about to be killed sea creatures. That being said my family and I didn’t last too long wandering through the stalls, but Joel’s family seemed a little less squemish. It was a sight to behold none the less.
After Jagalchi, and a slightly unsuccessful wander through the Gukje Underground Art Street, we made it back to our hotels in Haeundae. Since my dad was beat and decided to stay in for dinner, we decided to meat it up at Bulgogi Brothers. The 5 of us headed over with coupon for 2 free glasses of wine in tow, craving anything delicious that didn’t come from the sea. After a few miscommunications with our waitress in training – Yes, we did indeed want lettuce to go with our lettuce wrapped meat – and – Napkins and water would be a pleasant bonus if you could bring some – we enjoyed a classy meal of beef 4 ways. Great end to a beautiful day.
Sunday we attempted a calmer day and made our way to Yonggungsa Temple on the coast of Busan. We grabbed a taxi from the Novotel and started the trek to the temple. Along the way our taxi driver kept explaining he wanted to wait for us at the temple, and then he would take us back a half hour or so later. This sounded a little suspicious, but once we got there and noticed the lack of other taxis, and that most people were parking we agreed. Cost us 30,000 won in total per taxi. Most cost-effective way to see this temple? Probably not. But, most convenient? Maybe.
45 minutes wasn’t really enough time to take in this temple, but we really enjoyed the visit. Despite the throngs of people, the scenery was undeniably peaceful and grand. You could hear the water pounding the rocks below you, smell the pine and flowers in the air, and everywhere you looked around the temple grounds were beautiful sculptures architecture. The voices of chanting monks were also projected live on loudspeakers throughout the temple so that added to the mood. We tried to take it all in and then ventured back out to catch our cab.
We decided to head back to Shinsegae for lunch, at the gourmet food court this time. As we dined on Au Bon Pain we enjoyed the last quality sandwiches we’d taste for some time, and capped it off with an excellent patbingsu. We all headed back to Haeundae for one final stroll along the beach before making our way back to our home sweet home.
For all Busan pictures and more, click here.