It's been five months since Jürgen and I lost our French Bulldog to cancer. We've been able to distract ourselves with travel, but every once in awhile (and especially after seeing a French Bulldog on the streets), I'll feel that empty pang of sadness, and start wishing I had a dog again. Luckily, there's a place in Busan where I can go to purge myself of such silly whims.
A trip to the Gamcheon Culture Village was one of the stranger excursions we've undertaken during our time in South Korea. This neighborhood in the west of Busan has dedicated itself to art, with murals, sculptures and installations that occupy entire houses. Visitors are taken on a tour which snakes through narrow alleys and ends at an observation deck with an amazing view over the city.
Before visiting Suyeong Park, we had no idea what to expect. Despite its central location, with Bexco and Shinsegae visible just over the Suyeong River, this ramshackle neighborhood is definitely not on the normal tourist itinerary. But we had a great time in the park, which was filled with historical monuments, sacred trees and people playing chess, exercising and just relaxing.
Busan's aquarium is one of the largest in South Korea. With a unique location underneath Haeundae Beach, and a vast array of marine life in tanks which hold over three million liters of water, it's little wonder that the aquarium is considered one of the city's top experiences.
For our first trip to a Korean spa, we choose one of Busan's biggest and most modern: Spa Land in the Shinsegae department store. Twenty-two baths, thirteen distinctively-designed saunas, relaxation rooms, steam rooms, foot baths and more were ours to enjoy for four blissful hours.
Just like baseball and pop music, there's another aspect of American culture which Korea has adopted, and then taken to the next level: in-your-face Christianity. I can't get through a single day without encountering another proselytizing Protestant, whether in the street or the subway. They invite me to their church, push "Jesus Loves You" fliers into my hand, and pray aloud for my eternal soul. They lure me in with free orange juice, and only then reveal their true intentions.
A narrow section of streets in the central neighborhood of Daeyeon separates Kyungsung University from Pukyong University. Perhaps it's unsurprising that this neighborhood, packed full of students and the establishments which cater to them, is among the most exciting in the city.
I'm not sure which is more audacious -- billing yourself as the "world's best and biggest fountain", or calling yourself the Fountain of Dreams. Big words, Dadaepo, and you've set the bar high. Would your musical show of color and water be the "magnificent and dynamic banquet of light" which your website promises us? We expect no less!
Busan is definitely a city with a lot of character. Wait... no, I mean "characters". A lot of strange characters! We're impressed by the towering skyscrapers and challenged by the bizarre foods, but it's the funny animals, people and mascots of the city that we find the most entertaining. Painted dogs, monster-size lobsters, seductive wooden cows, and smiling dumplings are just some of the characters we've captured in this latest dump of photos from Busan.
We visited the Busan Museum of Art the day after our bizarre excursion to the Snow Castle indoor ski hall. And here, again, was a cavernous building of steel, completely devoid of people. But whereas the Snow Castle has shuttered its doors forever, the art museum was open for business. Just... there was no business.