< Travel journal of Gyeongju Gampo>
Gampo has one of the most beautiful emerald seas. My travel starts from the coast of Gampo where everybody seems to have time to relax. I departed at night and arrived in Gampo early in the morning. It is the second day of the trip and now my glittering sunshine-like travel begins. It was such a long time to see the blue sky which resembles the East Sea. I came back with a bunch of sketch of coast landscape.
01 | In Gameunsaji(Gameunsaji) fragrant with the smell of apricot flower…
According to the travel writer whom I traveled with, 7am to 10am is the best time to take pictures in the morning while during the afternoon, it has to be around 4pm to 6pm. The best time for photographers to soot is when sun shines warm and soft. Just like the Ondol which cooled down a little from Gudeuljang(flat stone used for Korean floor heating system) in the early morning. Gameunsaji(Gameunsa Site) at 9am is such a beautiful scenery, as the morning sun shines the graceful twin stone pagoda.
I decided to go up to the Gureung behind the Gameunsaji(Gameunsa Site) to see Geumdang Site, Dongseohoerang Site and Gameunsajisamcheongseoktap(Three storied stone pagoda of Gameunsa Temple site) all at once. On the way to Gureung, I met the messenger of the spring. Buds of apricot flower which delivers spring at first was bursting into blossom and were releasing its strong fragrance.
Almost one year after my book was published, my 70-year-old mother asked me one day “Could you also show me Gameunsa Stone Pagoda on the cover of your book?”
After looking at them for long time on top of Gameunsaji(Gameunsa Site) view tower, she opened her mouth.
“Are these what you called Pyesaji(site of the old temple) in the book?”
“Yes, mother. You remember a lot.”
“No, it´s just that the word was surprising”
“What else could I call them?”
“When we see these, we just say that it is a destroyed temple. But it seems like you saw something else in it and it is good of you. Always try to see things in that way, my son.”
From the book <My Essay On Cultural Heritage>, Yu Hong Jun
I am standing on the top of the hill where I can see Gameunsaji(Gameunsa Site) at once. I can see what the mother of Professor Yu saw; Geumdangteo and uniform Dongseo twin stone pagoda. Geumdangteo has a very unique structure of underground. It is directed east, the direction where the Underwater Tomb of King Munmu is, so that the King Munmu who became a dragon can come and go anytime. I did a good sightseeing in the Gameunsaji(Gameunsa Site) where morning sun shines.
11A.M 02| How much is this dab-fish?
After taking out my luggage from where I stayed, I visited Gampo public market. The market day of Gampo public market falls on a date with 3 and 8 at the end. Neverthless, the day I visited was not a market day and that´s why it was not that crowded.
I bought a bunch of dab fish from an old woman who takes dab fish from Gampo coast and dries it by herself. I wanted to give dab fish, which is full of roe to my mom as a gift from Gampo trip. Touched by the generosity of the old woman, the writer who joined me came back with her hand full of bags.
12 P.M 03| Best view on the hill, attracted by the streets of the village.
When you go a little down from Gampo market towards the harbor, you will find many sashimi centers along the quay. Forget about the hunger for now and at the point where the sashimi center ends, go up to the hill where the village starts. There is nothing like walking along the streets of the village when you want to feel the atmosphere of a fishing village. While walking through the streets, I entered a fishing village with beautiful pastel roofs.
After leaving the bustling shopping district and entering the village, it is the perfect place to enjoy the peaceful morning.
At the end of this street starts the endless sea.
Sea shore with tons of break water and clean sea water attracts my eyes.
House with dab fish hung on a clothesline. I wish I could live there as the sea is right in front of the house. If you want to feel the atmosphere of the fishing village, don’t forget to take a walk on the streets of the village behind the Gampo harbor.
12:40P:M 04| Same taste for 40 years, Songdo Sashimi restaurant
We went inside the sashimi restaurant which is situated in the intersection Gampo public market. This restaurant is owned by a mother and a son for 40 years serving local sashimi. There are only five to six tables which were already full with customers waiting for fresh lunch.
Dab fish water-sashimi and live blowfish soup
01 Blowfish soup made of live blowfish
The writer who joined me has already chosen water-sashimi and I was considering what to order. Then regular customers of this restaurant from next table recommended me to have live blowfish soup. The owner prepared the live blowfish on the spot and made a soup from it. It is a simple and clear soup and the flesh of the fish were so moist and tasty.
Ladys living near Najeong Beach made a good recommendation to me.
02 Dab fish water-sashimi
Dab fish water-sashimi is good to eat either with water or just mixed without water. See how tasty it looks! The writer who ordered it loved it. Actually I don’t enjoy sashimi that much but this dab fish sashimi was kind of sweet and chewy that I couldn’t stop eating. Now sashimi became one of my favorite food.
Matching its reputation for a good restaurant, all side dishes were delectable.
Dabfish sashimi: large 60,000 mid 50,000 small 40,000
Spicy bass soup: large 30,000 small 20,000
Blowfish soup: live 15,000 dead 10,000
Sashimi rice 10,000
Anglerfish soup 10,000
Sashimi noodle 10,000
Moray Eel soup 10,000
Half dried Sauri 25,000
1:40P.M 05 Mediterranean café, small Mediterranean in east coast
We went to a Mediterranean café to have a cup of coffee after lunch. This café has been operating for 15 years old and has a spectacular view of the sea. It is a café and a restaurant and also a pension. The first floor is a hall where you can eat or have a cup of tea. On the second floor is a pension and a gallery for displaying art pieces. You can choose whatever you want.
The interior and music matched the name of this place and reminded me of small Mediterranean in East Coast.
There is a door going outside where you can see the exterior of the building, white wall and the brick resembling the son of Mediterranean. It is a different world outside.
Look at the location of the bench in the front yard. Isn´t it amazing? I thought when the weather gets warmer it would be nice to have a cup of tea outside. I was sitting on a bench with a spectacular scenery that money can´t even buy. I was breathing deeply and enjoyed the relaxing moment of the travel.
We asked the owner on whether we could take a look at the pension on the second floor. Inside the room was clean but was not that big as it is studio-style room. Though, all rooms have individual terrace which I liked a lot. The price of the room is 100,000 won in weekdays and 150,000 won on weekends.
Information of Pension Mediterranean
Address : 400 Najeong-ri Gampo-eup Gyeongju-si Gyeongbuk
Phone : +82-54-775-1122
A cup of Cappuccino and more beautiful scenery outside the window.
There is a gallery up on the second floor.
2:30P.M 06| Peacefulness with seagulls, Underwater Tomb of King Munmu
As art historian Go Yu Seop mentioned, “My unforgettable sea” was right there. The sea made me to think about the King Munmu´s patriotism who said that even though his body dies, his spirit of saving the country will live and that he will protect the Silla as the dragon of the East Sea.
Peaceful sea near the Underwater Tomb of King Munmu seems like a place to rest for seagulls. So many seagulls were relaxing here.
Seagulls even don’t care about wave when they come for a rest.
But still, it seems like they are afraid of people. I feel sorry for disturbing their short break.
I already miss my two days in Gampo.
I started my trip to the sea in the evening of a weekday and arrived the next morning. It was a short trip and maybe that’s why it was so sad to leave there. Even though I enjoyed the sea enough, I still miss it as I am also going to leave soon. Maybe I should make a reservation for a room in the small village on top of the Gampo hills where the pastel roofs were impressive. When you feel like to go on a trip without any plans or schedule, why don’t you take any bus to Gampo?
TIP How to get to Gampo?
There are two buses going to Gampo, bus number 100 and 150. If you want to go to Underwater Tomb of King Moon moo, Gameunsaji(Gameunsa Site) and Bonggil beach, take the bus number 150 and if you want to go to Gampo harbor and Jeonchoen beach, take the bus number 100. Bus number 150 runs every hour and bus number 100, every 20 minutes.