June 26, 2013 by travelinggrits

Perhaps South Korea now worships the divine powers of coffee, but there is one place tea will always be sacred: Boseong, a small town home to one of Korea’s finest tea fields.

Appropriately so, my visit here was one of the most relaxing tours in Korea yet. Too often, I try to cram too many sights into a short trip, often resulting in constant fretting over transportation schedules, sometimes skipping meals and ending up passed out on the bus from exhaustion on the way home.

This time, the school ethics teacher (the same age as me, which made us compatible as friends according to Korean hierarchical standards) and I planned a leisurely schedule; we stayed in Gwangju overnight and started for Boseong the next morning with two other friends in tow. Our tour of the tea fields took only a few hours; we wandered trails along the outskirts of the rolling slopes, inhaling the tea-scented air with appreciation and slowly savoring cups of fresh green tea ice cream.

There isn’t much in the nearby sleepy seaside village of Yulpo, but what is there pays homage to that famed local leaf. The few restaurants tout everything from cold green tea noodles to parbecued meat from pigs fed only with tea leaves. On such a hot day, we chose the noodles, which didn’t disappoint.

While digesting, we lounged on a pier jutting into the sea for nearly an hour, talking about our life plans, world travel and politics. As we were leaving, I convinced everyone to stop at the haesu nokchatang, a waterfront jjimjilbang (public bathhouse) I had read about featuring special green tea and seawater soaks. We emerged from its soothing waters relaxed and content.

The tea certainly worked its magic.

I later remembered that I never drank a single cup.P1060173


One thought on “Calming

  1. FRENCH, HAROLD says:

    Dear Christina, I have greatly enjoyed your Traveling Grits episodes! I guess you’ll soon be winding up your Korean experience and resuming the academic life in Chapel Hill. Hope that it’s a fond farewell and a happy new experience. If you get through Columbia before heading there, drop by!

    Japan was wonderful! Good group, smaller, just eleven, but several knew some Japanese, which made it even more interesting for them, and several were into anime, which made some pokemon shops appealing.

    Other than that, Fuji treated us to a rare perfect view, we loved the two ryokans we stayed in, as well as two much better than expected hostels, a Zen temple in Kyoto, etc. Such an incredibly clean, ordered society, with so warm and gracious people. I had experienced this before, but it was nice to renew it.

    Only drawback: I was feeling under the weather with a cold and weak voice the whole time, so couldn’t participate at an optimal level! Full recovery a week or so later, though, and Rannie, who picked up my malady later, and was slower recovering, is OK now, too.

    This doesn’t have the weekly reflections that your journals do, but I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your messages. And maybe you will get a cup of tea somewhere before you leave!

    Blessings, Hal

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