Wow! Wow! What a trail to find within the boundaries of Busan, a city of some four million people. The crashing waves brought on by the aftershock of the distant typhoon, the bright sunshine, the blue skies and those striking views made this a very special walk.
Emily was quite clear about it. If we want to do as the Koreans do, we have to spend time at a spa.
Spa Land, she said. That’s biggest and best.
Once we’d arrived, we had to split for the bath house experience. Naked, you see. I got used to this in seconds. Spring water with various health-giving properties, and hot, cool, cold, very hot, bubbling, still, shallow, deep, indoor, outdoor: I relished the lot. Saunas – 60 degrees, 80 degrees. Then scrubbing and pampering with lotions and potions.
Dressed in soft loose shorts and top as issued, I went exploring, though I never found Malcolm. There were rooms, beautifully appointed, with hot steam, warm steam, dry heat, dry cold, changing lights, atmospheric relaxing sounds, as well as various cool relaxing areas. I loved trying them all out and felt no need to pay for extra treats such as a massage.
If this is how Koreans give themselves treats, I thoroughly approve.
No photos though. Not allowed. Instead, here’s a view we saw later in the day – once I’d found Malcolm – of the Gwangandaegyo Bridge, stretching 7.4 km across the ocean, linking two parts of Busan together. It’s quite a sight. And a moody one too, when there are warnings out that a typhoon is on its way.
From the sublime to the ridiculous. After the temple …. tea break time. Back in town, Emily took us to a …. cat café. We thought it was a Korean thing, but it turns out there’s even one in Manchester. And New York. And Barcelona.
You order your drinks. You sit down. And there are some fifteen or so cats, playing, slumbering, climbing on shelves, cat climbing frames, boxes….
It’s quite relaxing and fun. Emily says there are dog cafés too. But as you’d expect, they’re really rather smelly.
Emily took us on a special journey today. On a bus which climbed steadily up increasingly wooded slopes, leaving Busan with its crowds and high-rise buildings far below. We got off at the Buddhist temple, Beomeo-sa
It’s been here since 678. There’s a golden well nearby in which a golden fish from Nirvana lives, so this site was perfect as headquarters for the Dyana sect.
The Japanese destroyed it in 1593. It was rebuilt.
This is a temple, a working monastery, a place of worship and pilgrimage. It shows. Those of us who visited as tourists felt something of what it offers as we absorbed the beauty, peace and serenity of this special site.
Our high-speed train journey to Busan was effortless, and involved simply looking through the window at views which changed from high-rise cities and towns to glistening wet paddy fields to thickly wooded hillside.
And here we are in Busan. It’s raining, and how. It may do so for three more days. Never mind.
This time we’re not staying in a small old and traditional hanok, but in a hotel. A motel actually, as is common here. We think this one is fine, but you have to watch out. Another name for motels is ‘love hotel’ and it’s where you bring your – er – bit on the side. Very boringly, neither of us can find one.
But here’s a picture of Busan on this very wet evening. Roll on tomorrow and the chance to explore.